Wondering how your Wisconsin healthcare facility can avoid hazardous disposal violations and sail through a surprise inspection by the WI DNR?

This Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources presentation highlights six areas to concentrate on to ensure a compliant hazardous waste management program. If you’re counting, we’re adding a seventh one in the list below, as the August 21, 2019 Sewer Ban is just around the corner.

To clarify, the WI DNR lists healthcare facilities as: hospitals, clinics, community-based residential facilities, residential care apartment complexes with centrally managed medications, in-patient hospice care and nursing homes with five or more beds.

The WI DNR defines hazardous waste as material being discarded (solid waste), which has any of these characteristic properties:

  • Ignitable (D001) – alcohol, solvents
  • Corrosive (D002)  – acids
  • Reactive (D003) – reacts violently with water, explosive
  • Toxic (D004 – D043) – regulatory levels (lead, mercury, silver)

Acute hazardous wastes are highly toxic in the environment. This includes things like U-listed wastes (nitroglycerin), and P-listed wastes, like warfarin and nicotine.

Now let’s get to the meat of the matter.

Most Common Hazardous Waste Disposal Violations

According to the WI DNR, the most common compliance violations and issues they see in Wisconsin healthcare facilities’ hazardous waste disposal process include:

  1. Incorrect Waste Determinations
  2. Inaccurate information on Land Disposal Restriction Notifications
  3. Insufficient Manifests recording cradle-to-grave hazardous waste disposal process
  4. Missing March 1 deadline for the WI DNR’s Annual Hazardous Waste Report
  5. Improper Hazardous Container Management
  6. Inadequate Training Documentation for Employees Handling Hazardous Waste

And, effective August 21, 2019, add:

  • Illegally Pouring Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Down the Drain

Here’s a deeper dive into each:

Waste Determinations

It’s crucial to evaluate and properly characterize each hazardous waste stream for proper disposal. WI DNR publication WA1259, Table of Common Healthcare Wastes, is good to have on hand when sorting. Another guide, WI DNR’s Publication WA1152, Waste Determinations and Record Keeping, can also help when evaluating, characterizing and documenting each waste.

For pharmaceutical wastes, work with your pharmacist to get an updated formulary list to determine hazardous from non-hazardous. Commingling of hazardous and non-hazardous waste pharmaceuticals in the same container is acceptable. You must dispose of it as hazardous waste pharmaceuticals.

Beyond hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, you’ll need to keep in mind other hazardous waste streams. Spent hazardous materials from a lab (formalin), maintenance area (corrosive cleaning chemicals) and power plant (used oil and boiler chemicals) count too.

Keep track of universal waste. This includes hazardous lead items from protective x-ray clothing (aprons, shields, gloves). And, it includes shielding or wallboard from former X-ray rooms, or x-ray film foil wrapping.

If your facility has a dental clinic, keep track and properly dispose of wastes that contain silver. These include items like silver tipped catheters, X-ray film, plates and negatives. Dental amalgam should be sent to special mercury recycling center.

In Wisconsin, chemotherapy waste needs to be thermally destroyed. Be sure to document this for trace and bulk chemo destruction.

Land Disposal Restriction Notifications

From the moment hazardous waste is generated onward, it is subject to land disposal restrictions. If a hazardous waste generator produces more than 220 pounds of hazardous materials or 2.2 pounds of acute hazardous waste in a calendar month, it must identify the type and nature of the waste on a Land Disposal Restriction (LDR) Notification. And, it also must determine the course of applicable treatment before land disposal.

LDR Notifications must be kept on file for three years, per NR 668.07 Wis. Adm. Code. Being able to quickly retrieve them is important. The inspector will likely want to review them to see that all of the information is correct on them.

Hazardous Waste Manifests

Unless exempted, large quantity and small quantity generators (those who produce more than 220 lbs of hazardous waste or 2.2 lbs of acute hazardous waste per month) must use a paper or electronic manifest when shipping their hazardous waste. This Guide for Hazardous Waste Generators outlines more about this topic.

Retrieving these manifests from the past three years is key. They must document the cradle to grave destruction of your hazardous waste. Plus, they must also include proper waste codes, volumes, as well as the name of the transporter and receiving facility for the waste. Signatures must document each step of the way on a paper or electronic manifest.

Annual Hazardous Waste Reporting

By March 1, Wisconsin healthcare facilities must complete a hazardous waste annual report if they meet any of these three qualifications in any one month during the previous year. If they had:

  • 220 pounds of hazardous waste,
  • 2.2 pounds of acutely toxic waste, or
  • 220 pounds of acute hazardous waste as part of a spill cleanup.

Large Quantity Generators (more than 2,200 pounds of hazardous waste in any one month, or 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste) must also submit a waste management plan in odd numbered years.

Container management

Here are a few questions inspectors might address regarding your hazardous containers.

Are:

  • Your containers in a secure area and labeled hazardous waste?
  • You tracking how much you are generating?
  • The lids securely closed on the containers?
  • Arrival dates on container labels?
  • You doing weekly inspections of the satellite accumulation area to ensure your containers are in good working condition and the covers are closed?

It’s always smart to have your hazardous containers near the point of generation. But, move them when they full. Remember, you have only three days to move them to main accumulation areas.

Very Small Quantity Generators (less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste a month) don’t have a time limit to when they need to dispose of their hazardous waste. As a best practice, we suggest to dispose of it at least once per year.

Small Quantity Generators have 180 days to remove their full hazardous waste containers. Large generators have only 90 days to remove their full containers from the main accumulation storage area.

Finally, make sure your staff knows which type of container is appropriate for each type of hazardous waste. Having a medical waste map that outlines what waste goes in each container could demonstrate to the inspector that your facility is on top of it. MERI offers a template of a medical waste map to our customers which offers a guideline as to which waste goes where.

Training and Emergency Response

It is not only vital to provide training for employees managing hazardous waste, but also to have a record of when and where the training took place. All facility personnel must understand the emergency evacuation portion of the contingency plan.

In addition, an agreement must be made with an emergency response contractor who understands ahead of time the types of hazardous wastes they could be handling if a spill were to take place. 

To sum up, would you be able to find the number of who to call should a hazardous spill occur on the premise? Could the folks who are cleaning up quickly be given information about what they are dealing with?

Sewer Ban Begins August 21, 2019

We’ve covered six common violations the DNR may site you for. Yet, one that will likely be addressed in the near future is what gets flushed down your facility’s drain. Medical facilities should have a letter from their Public Owned Treatment Works (POTW). It should explain what is currently being disposed of via the sink or toilet. Remember, take into account the new Sewer Ban before flushing.

The August 21, 2019 EPA sewer ban will affect healthcare facilities nationwide. Read our recent blog to learn more. Hazardous pharmaceutical waste cannot be disposed of down the sink or toilet. The following five DEA controlled substances are hazardous waste. They must not be flushed down the drain. They must be made non-recoverable. Or, a DEA Registrant needs to handle them.

  • Chloral/ Chloral Hydrate
  • Fentanyl Sublingual Spray
  • Phenobarbital
  • Testosterone gels/solutions
  • Valium injectable/gel

It Pays to Be in Compliance

Simply put, the consequences of not being in compliance are steep. Penalties can run up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the type and seriousness of the violation. Be sure to avoid this by educating yourself, and your staff!

As always, MERI is here for you. We often help our customers pull together key information they need to have at their fingertips. It is helpful to have on should an inspector come calling.

Give us a call at 608-257-7652 if you have any questions, or email us at info@meriinc.com

###

Thank you for choosing MERI. We don’t take lightly the responsibility of managing your medical waste. And, we appreciate your support in helping us to properly disposing your infectious, hazardous, pharmaceutical and universal waste streams.

This thank you for choosing MERI video is a token of appreciation to our customers. Many of you have been with us since our inception over three decades ago. Because of your encouragement, we’ve been able to:

  • develop training programs and educational blogs to keep you up to date
  • support sustainability initiatives, like recycling surgical blue wrap
  • expand our services to include a nationwide medical waste mailback system
  • and most importantly, finding innovative solutions to your medical waste issues, whatever they may be

MERI Services

Madison Environmental Resourcing, Inc. began in 1985 by three Madison, WI hospitals, who formed an alliance to cost-effectively collect and treat their medical waste.

Over the years, we’ve expanded to other states and serve a variety of organizations, with a full range of transport and treatment services. Today we do everything from devitalizing biotech waste to disposing dental amalgam, from recycling sustainable materials like blue wrap and medical devices to collecting infectious waste and sharps through our nationwide mailback program operated under our subsidiary, Medical Environmental Recovery Inc.

Our mission then, as well as today, is to provide effective, environmentally safe medical waste disposal services at a low cost so that our customers can dedicate resources to patient care.

Let us know how we can help you with any of the following sustainable efforts, including:

  • Recycling your medical devices and surgical blue wrap
  • Maximizing your return potential from expired pharmaceuticals
  • Conduct in-person training or waste audit
  • Designing solutions to streamline your waste process

MERI swiftly collects and documents your biohazard waste, including sharps and infectious materials, from cradle to grave, with sustainable, electronic manifests. Being a fully licensed and insured medical waste transport, treatment and disposal company, MERI ensures your regulated waste streams follow all local, state and federal guidelines regarding proper transportation and destruction. We offer a pickup service for organizations in Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Northeast Iowa, Northern Illinois and Southeast Minnesota. In addition, MERI also offers a nationwide medical waste mailback program.

Madison Environmental Resourcing Inc. (MERI) is now in its new location at 800 Uniek Drive in Waunakee, WI.

According to MERI CEO Jim Fitzpatrick, the medical waste disposal company outgrew its former Badger Road location in Madison. “We’ve expanded our services to offer a centralized solution for our regulated medical waste customers,” said Fitzpatrick.  

One-Stop Medical Waste Shop

Besides collecting and processing infectious waste, MERI properly disposes other regulated medical waste streams, including pharmaceuticals, hazardous and universal materials.  MERI also helps clients be more sustainable by collecting and recycling blue wrap and repurposing medical devices.

“Our strategy of becoming a one-stop medical waste shop has simplified and streamlined our client’s disposal process,” said Fitzpatrick, adding, “And more customers are requesting our cost-effective service.”

About MERI

A partnership of three Madison, WI hospitals, Madison Environmental Resourcing Inc. (MERI) helps facilities properly dispose regulated medical waste throughout the Midwest. In addition, MERI has a nationwide medical waste mailback program that compliantly disposes needles or trace chemotherapy waste.

Restaurateurs are always on the alert for red flags that could sink their ratings and bottom lines. But sometimes, the simplest mistake – like not having a place to store used needles – can result in an unfortunate headline. Use these three restaurant sharps disposal tools to help avoid a (bio)hazardous review from a customer, employee or OSHA inspector:

1. Hang Sharps Containers in Restaurant Restrooms

About 14% of Americans today either have a food allergy or diabetes. Many carry an EPI pen, or insulin injection needle, with them at all times in case of an emergency. If someone asked where your sharps disposal container is, could you direct them to one on your premise? Or, could you explain why you don’t have one?

Providing a sharps box means your customers and employees can avoid placing their sharps in the restaurant’s restroom trash, where a staff member can get poked while taking out the bag.

MERI’s sharps disposal system comes with a rigid sharps box to hang in your restroom. It also includes a handy mailback container. When your biohazard insert is full, exchange it with a new insert inside the mailback kit. Then, mail the full insert back to us in the postage paid box.

Just follow the instructions, including signing the manifest, before sending it back via the local US Postal mail carrier. At $79 for the whole system, it’s a bargain compared to a multi-million lawsuit that may be brought forth by an employee or customer if accidentally poked by a needle placed in the trash bin or parking lot. It may also prevent you from a Sharps lawsuit.

2. Use a Mailback Kit to Easily Dispose Full Sharps Containers

It’s never okay to reuse a sharps container located inside a sharps box. The box is filled with needles and bloodborne pathogens, which could spread infection if not properly disposed after use.

A mailback kit makes it easy to switch out the full container with a fresh one. It even comes with a prepaid USPS return shipping label addressed to MERI’s licensed treatment center. Simply follow the instructions to package up the old biohazard mailback container, and drop it off at your local U.S. Post Office or give to your postal carrier.  This video outlines how easy MERI’s mailback kits are to use.

3. Have a Blood Spill Clean Up and Disposal Kit 

Accidents happen. It’s not only important to properly clean up, but also to dispose of infectious waste. MERI’s blood spill clean-up and disposal kit disinfects, documents and disposes after a spill involving blood, vomit, urine or feces.

Place the blood spill kit near your first aid kit. Then it will be easy to grab when cleaning up and collecting the infectious material. The rigid container can also hold glass shards that would otherwise pierce through a typical plastic garbage bag. Read and follow the instructions that come with the kit to ensure you stay safe when cleaning up.Before sending, sign the enclosed manifest. It documents you are properly disposing infectious waste. Then, mail the infectious waste in the postage paid box back to MERI’s treatment center.

Responsible Restaurant Sharps Disposal Tools

Being a responsible restaurateur or business owner means implementing OSHA guidelines to avoid biohazardous accidents. Have a sharps container in your restaurant’s restrooms, as well as blood spill clean-up and disposal kits near your first aid kit. They’ll make it easy for your employees or guests to dispose their sharps or other infectious waste – and even easier for you to take care of it after.

MERI will soon have a new home at 800 Uniek Drive in Waunakee, WI.

Madison Environmental Resourcing, Inc. (MERI) is working through final permitting with the Department of Natural Resources. Two of MERI’s microwave processors moved and installation is currently in progress.

Once the DNR issues a permit to operate, likely by late February, MERI will be fully operational at the new facility. Plans are in place to make it a seamless transition so customers will continue to be serviced during the move.

 “We outgrew our Badger Road location due to more customers requesting our superior, cost-effective service,” said CEO Jim Fitzpatrick. “Now, we hope to expand into other offerings, including adding resusable sharps.”

 One-Stop Medical Waste Disposal Shop

Besides collecting and processing infectious waste, MERI handles other regulated medical waste streams, such as pharmaceuticals, hazardous materials and universal waste.  It also helps its clients be more sustainable by collecting and recycling blue wrap and repurposing medical devices.

“Our strategy of becoming a one-stop medical waste shop has simplified and streamlined our client’s disposal process,” said Fitzpatrick.

 

You need to know how to properly tie a biohazard bag after it is full.  Having a properly sealed bag is one of the regulatory requirements for packaging your medical waste for shipment. Believe it or not, there’s a right way, and a wrong way to tie a medical waste bag once its full. The right way will mean that your bag will be less likely to leak if turned upside down.

At MERI, we’ve tested several knots. The two best methods are either to use an overhand knot or to use a gooseneck knot secured with either a plastic tie or duck tape.

Watch this video demonstration about how to properly tie an overhand or gooseneck knot once your regulated medical waste bag is full.

Or, follow these steps:

How Properly Tie a Biohazard Bag Using An Overhand Knot

 

Step 1 Overhand Knot: Gather, Twist End 8″-10″

 

 

 

 

Step 2 Overhand Knot:  Overhand Knot: Make Loop With the Twisted End

 

 

 

 

Step 3 Overhand Knot: Loop the End Through to Create a Knot

 

 

 

How Properly Tie a Biohazard Bag Using A Gooseneck Knot

 

Gooseneck Step 1:  Gather, Twist End 8″-10″

 

 

 

 

Gooseneck Step 2: Make Loop With the Twisted End

 

 

 

 

Gooseneck Step 3:  Seal Tightly With Either Duck Tape or Plastic Tie

 

 

 

 

Don’t tie your regulated medical waste bag in a bunny ear fashion, like this:

 

Tying a bag in rabbit ears is not acceptable, because, if turned upside down, your bag will likely leak.

 

 

 

Make sure the container lid is securely fastened once your red biohazard bag is tied inside the medical waste transport container. On that note, you’ll make our MERI medical waste drivers’ day if they see our container properly closed like this on your collection day:

Instead of seeing the lid not secured, or the biohazard bag full but not tied:

        

Finally, one last ask. Make sure that you don’t have any loose sharps in your biohazard bag or medical waste transport container. All sharps belong in a puncture-resistant red sharps box before going into the medical waste container. Sharps include needles, syringes, broken glass, scalpels, Capillary tubes, culture slides, broken rigid plastic and exposed wires.

Want to share this info with others? Feel free to download this handy Poster: Properly Package Medical Waste For Shipment  You may even want to place it by where your medical waste transport containers are located for easy reference. Our poster highlights the three simple steps folks need to follow for properly packing your medical waste for disposal.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 608-257-7652 or CONTACT US

 

According to the CDC, as many as 168 million doses of the flu shot, also known as an injectable influenza vaccine, could be administer in the United States this year. Where will thousands of those used needles go?

Madison Environmental Resourcing Inc. (MERI) has been working with colleges, corporate office parks, skilled nursing centers, hospitals and traveling nurses throughout the Midwest to make sure needles from flu injections are properly disposed, either through MERI’s regulated medical waste pickup or sharps mailback program.

In the process of our MERI employees get their flu shots, here’s what we learned:

Tis the Flu Season

Even though 2016’s National Influenza Vaccination Week officially kicks off until December 4-10, flu shots are being administed now as flu cases are often reported as early as October. Flu season peaks between December and February and lasts as late as May.

If flu viruses are spreading, it’s never too late to get your vaccine, even if you’ve already gotten sick with one flu virus. Depending on the type you get, you are protected from three to four flu strains for approximately six months after you’ve been vaccinated.

Use Injection Not Nasal Spray

During 2016-2017, the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) vaccine is not being recommended to combat the flu virus. Instead, the CDC recommends using the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV).

Anyone who had to deal with the affects of the flu can tell you it’s worth taking a few moments, or overcoming a fear of needles, to get yourself, and your loved ones, vaccinated.

It’s especially important to get young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people aged 65 years and older vaccinated, as they are at high risk of having severe complications from the flu. This can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes that can lead to hospitalization or death.

Difference Between a Cold and Flu

You likely have a cold if you are tired and gradually feel a runny nose, sore throat, cough, sneezing jag, or headache coming on.

On the other hand, you probably have the flu if your symptoms come on suddenly, are more severe, you’re extremely tired or often are going to the bathroom to get sick.

A cold is a hassle. The flu can be deadly, especially when one’s immune system is compromised. While it is still very difficult to distinguish the flu from other viruses on the basis of symptoms alone, there are tests available, if needed, to find the answer.

Click here for this handy difference between a cold and flu chart.

How Do You Avoid Getting a Cold or Flu?

Mom was right when she pleaded “Wash Your Hands!”

To avoid picking up a cold or influenza virus, wash your hands often and thoroughly with warm soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth, and try to stay away from anyone who is experiencing symptoms of a cold or flu, as they can expel tiny droplets of the virus in the air, or on a table surface.

Another way to avoid getting sick is to make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, and manage your stress levels through regular exercise and meditative breathing.

Most importantly, to avoid the flu, take a moment to get your flu shot to #FightFlu!

And, if you need assistance with removing needles after a flu clinic, please give Lisa or Caleb a call at 608-257-7652 or email us at info@meriinc.com

MERI looks out for my hospital’s best interest. I like doing business with MERI because they are honest and trustworthy.”  

Gail Reichling, Housekeeping Supervisor, Upland Hills Health

Thank you, Gail, for your testimonial for what we do for you and your team at Upland Hills. We’re going to proudly add it to our growing list of testimonials.

Notes like these mean a lot to us, because we like to take care of our customers.

We’ve heard from many of you that our electronic manifests and customer portal have made reporting a lot easier. Hospital and surgical center administrators have also thanked us for helping them to be more sustainable, and reduce their waste numbers, by recycling their surgical blue wrap and repurposing their medical devices.

Because medical waste has its own ebb and flow, we’ll make it a priority to get you picked up, even if it’s not your scheduled date. Find yourself needing more containers and bags? No worries about going over an allotment. We’ll get them to you free of charge.

We’ll also help you save time and money by being your one source for picking up not only infectious waste, but also pharmaceutical and hazardous chemical waste, or universal materials like batteries, fluorescent light bulbs and medical devices.

We know that you often have a lot to juggle so helping to make sure that you are compliant is one small way we can keep you and your staff safe.  That’s why we want to have you save the date for our upcoming RCRA and DOT hazardous training class on October 11, 2016 in the Wisconsin Dells.  Email us today at info@meriinc.com if you’d like to be added to the class list.  

 SAVE THE DATE – TUESDAY OCT. 11, 2016 — RCRA AND DOT HAZARDOUS TRAINING

 

With increased enforcement, nursing home compliance is critical. MERI’s Free Infectious and Hazardous Waste Review Helps Midwestern Nursing Homes Quickly Assess if They Are Compliant. 

If a DNR inspector audited your nursing home today, would it pass with flying colors?

Skilled Nursing Administrators, Environmental Services and Compliance Officers take note: Proposed EPA rules and increased enforcement means it’s time for you to check if your facility has any compliance issues when handling and disposing its pharmaceutical and medical waste.

From previous reviews we’ve conducted, we’ve noticed many skilled nursing facilities are in non-compliance, especially when dealing with their pharmaceuticals. This is worrying for three reasons.

  • you could be faced with thousands of dollars in fines if audited,
  • you may inadvertently creating an unhealthy workplace, and
  • you could be unnecessarily polluting our water stream.

MERI (short for Madison Environmental Resourcing Inc.) is currently offering a FREE Nursing Home Compliance REVIEW for Midwestern Nursing Homes to help flag any potential compliance issues.

Our quick, 10-question survey can help you determine if your infectious, hazardous, pharmaceutical and universal wastes are being properly stored, collected, treated and disposed. We’ll also talk to you about how you document every step of your waste disposal process, from cradle to grave, and how quickly you can access your manifests.

Click here to email us with a time that works best for you to conduct the survey, or or give Lisa, Jim or Zac a call at 608-257-7652.

After the 20-minute conversation, we’ll review your answers and pull together a report with our findings shortly after. MERI will note where you may currently be out of compliance on issues that may put you at greater risk of fine. Our goal of doing this is to help you get these issues fixed before an inspector shows up at your door with a list of violations that could quickly add up to more $27,500 per violation/per day.

We’ve helped skilled nursing and assisted living facilities stay on top of changing regulations for more than 30 years. Licensed and owned by three major hospitals, MERI understands your world. As a not-for-profit, we know how important it is to be compliant and to keep your costs low, so that you can focus your financial resources on what’s truly important – focusing your resources on those you are caring for.

###

Mercury Reduction in Waterstream

Environmentally-Friendly Madison, WI Dentists Keep Amalgam — and Mercury — from Going Down the Drain

Throughout the country, it’s been estimated that dentists handle about one to two pounds of amalgam each year, mainly in the form of old silver-colored fillings removed from teeth. In Wisconsin, amalgam waste cannot be flushed down the drain due to regulations from local municipal wastewater authorities.  How do you dispose of amalgam compliantly yet cost-effectively? 

Before we get into inexpensive ways to properly dispose amalgam, here is a recap of why it can’t go down the drain.

What’s Wrong With Amalgam? 

The problem with amalgam is that it is about 50 percent mercury by weight. Even those with limited chemistry knowledge generally know one thing about mercury: It’s bad for the environment.

Once mercury enters the water stream, microorganisms convert it into methyl mercury – a highly toxic compound that then accumulates in fish, shellfish and any animals that eat them. This exposure rises straight to the top of the food chain, leading to methyl mercury exposure in humans.

EPA studies showed that, unless there was a large industrial source in a community, dental offices using silver amalgam were the single largest source of mercury discharged to Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW), accounting for nearly half of the mercury it received.

Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) in Wisconsin was one of the first municipal wastewater authorities in the state to regulate dental amalgam. By working with the local dental community, MMSD was able to significantly reduce mercury in its discharge. The dotted line represents the deadline for dental clinics in MMSD’s service area to install amalgam separators to capture amalgam from dental wastewater, preventing it from entering the sewer.However, changes like at MMSD can only be effective if dentists everywhere understand the importance of being good environmental stewards. 

It will likely not be as much of a problem in the future as dentists are switching from using amalgam fillings to safer alternatives, such as resin composites. But, since so many existing fillings may contain mercury, it could take a generation for amalgam fillings to fully disappear as a mercury source at dental clinics. 

Even if your local municipality does not currently have amalgam regulations, it’s possible that the Environmental Protection Agency will mandate all dentists to have special mercury collection devices in the next few years.

Disposing Your Amalgam Compliantly and Inexpensively

Many environmentally friendly dentists now have a chair-side vacuum line that collects large chunks of the alloy drilled out of teeth. The installation of filters or gravity separators remove 95% or more of the remaining amalgam in the sludge of water, saliva and other fluids suctioned out of a mouth.  This material is collected in a special trap or canister.

At MERI, we pick up amalgam from chair-side traps and mercury capsules, at the same time we pick up other hazardous waste from dental offices. Besides amalgam, MERI also collects hazardous materials like lead aprons, fixer, developer and pharmaceuticals such as Lidocaine.

Because MERI picks up hazardous materials at the time we are picking up sharps and other biohazard materials, there is no additional stop fee. 

Just give us a call ahead of time to make sure that the proper hazardous paperwork is prepared ahead of time before arriving to collect your amalgam or other hazardous materials.

If you’ve yet to find a compliant, inexpensive way to dispose of amalgam, give us a call!

###