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.

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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!

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preparing for a minor industrial accident

Are you prepared it an accident occurs in your industrial plant? A medical waste mailback kit helps clean up after a minor industrial accident. And, it provides documentation so that you can record everything was not only cleaned up but also properly disposed.  These mailback kits are important because every industrial plant has a legal obligation to develop an accident control plan. As part of this control plan, specific employees must be trained on how to correctly clean up and dispose of blood and the waste generated in an incident.  

One big misconception among many facility managers is that there’s nothing particularly difficult about cleaning up blood following an accident. Most believe it’s as simple as grabbing some washcloths, wiping it up, and tossing the waste in the trash.

Yet, the procedure for cleaning even a small amount of blood is a bit more involved. In fact, not following the correct protocol places your employees at risk, and creates a liability issue for your facility.

The reason why has to do with a federal agency you’re probably familiar with: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OSHA. Because of the potential pathogens blood carries, OSHA takes workplace accidents – especially those that involve blood – extremely seriously.

So what can you do to keep your employees safe and your facility compliant? Keeping a Medical Waste Mailback kit may be your answer to both.

What is a Biohazard Blood Spill Clean Up & Disposal Kit?

For those who don’t know, a Medical Waste Mailback Kit is a simple way to disinfect, dispose and dispose medical waste through the mail. This includes material absorbed in blood, vomit, urine or feces.

This all-in-one, pre-paid postage mail kit is great to have on hand for an emergency clean up and compliant disposal of an infectious spill in a school, bus, lab, retail or industrial setting. It’s also good for biohazard waste, including sharps or broken glass.

DOT and USPS Certified

This kit is certified by both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the United States Postal Service (USPS). Each mailback kit holds up to eight pounds of absorbed infectious waste and sharps. Best of all, it comes with a manifest to help meet OSHA regulations to document an accident involving blood borne pathogens.

Using MERI’s mailback system is fairly straightforward. Each kit comes pre-stamped, so you can ship it directly to a medical waste disposal company once the container filled.

MERI’s blood spill and medical waste maiback kits are used in households of diabetics, at nursing homes, or at other medical facilities that regularly produce small amounts of medical waste. Yet, for industrial plants, they can also be vital when an accident arises.

Why Every Industrial Plant Needs a Medical Waste Mail Back Kit

OSHA requires a select few employees – often a manager or safety specialist – to undergo annual bloodborne pathogen training. Part of that training involves learning how to properly and safely clean up blood.

Bloody waste is not like standard garbage. It carries diseases. Saturated bloody waste is medical waste.

Often, medical waste requires a medical waste disposal service to pick up the waste. For small amounts of waste, paying for a service to come to your facility can seem overly expensive.

MERI’s blood spill and medical waste kits are quick to ship, fully compliant with all medical waste disposal and shipping laws, and cost about half that of transportation. They can also be useful beyond accident response. For instance, some industrial plants have a first aid or nurse’s station where a nurse collects bloody materials or administers shots. This kit could provide a simple way for these nurses to dispose this medical waste and needles or other sharp devices.

It’s important to note that if you ever have a larger spill or produce more than four pounds of medical waste per month, you should call a medical waste disposal facility like MERI to handle it. Mailback kits are best for smaller amounts of medical waste.

Still, in an industrial plant, you never know when an injury will arise that suddenly creates small amounts of medical waste. Keep a MERI blood spill or medical waste kit handy so you can safely and lawfully handle the situation when the time comes.

Learn how to easily track, properly handle, and affordably dispose your biohazard or infectious waste.

Download Your
Infectious Waste Compliance Guide

The medical waste mail back system comes with a lot of options
We often write about how convenient the medical waste mail back system is for small waste generators. But what you might not realize is just how versatile the system is. Getting the most out of a medical mail back kit comes down to selecting the right container for your needs. Read more