Shipping Medical Waste – Is it Safe?

Shipping medical waste through a mailback program, like MERI’s mailback kits, is increasing in popularity. For small-quantity waste generators, it’s both convenient and cost-effective. But is it safe to ship regulated medical waste through the mail? The answer is yes, as long as you use a vendor with approved mailback kits.

The Approval Process for Shipping Medical Waste

For companies like MERI, getting approval for the distribution of a medical waste mailback kit must take place every 24 months or before that time if there is any change in the container design. So what goes into getting approval?

Rigorous Testing of Kits and Containers

First, MERI’s sharps waste mailback kits must undergo and pass rigorous testing by a third party before even submitting for approval to the United States Post Office (USPS). Additionally, the Department of Transportation requires that all sharps waste containers, such as the ones we use inside each kit, pass laboratory tests.

These tests ensure our packaging and the rigid containers won’t leak when faced with trauma, harsh weather, or any other factors that come with transportation. Tests include dropping the container from 30 to 40 feet and handling well in extreme humidity, cold, or heat.

USPS Stamp of Approval

Next, every MERI mailback must meet a list of guidelines set by the United States Postal Service. (USPS is the only service to collect a medical waste mail back kit.)

USPS’s requirements include stamping each box with an easily recognizable graphic to indicate it contains biohazard material. In addition, they require each kit to have a manifest that details the contents of the material in the box. Also, it must include the waste generator’s contact information and the licensed infectious waste disposal facility the material is going to.

USPS reviews and grants approval based on the third-party testing documents and all the additional material submitted, showing we meet all guidelines set.

Safety Measures in Place

Woman removing sharps container from a mailback boxTriple-Layer Protection

MERI’s sharps waste mail-back kit includes a triple layer of protection around the infectious waste containers. First, the container itself gets put in a spill-resistant bag. This bag is then placed inside two layers of sturdy cardboard boxes. These measures ensure contaminants won’t leak during transportation.

Tracked Manifestation

Each MERI infectious waste mailback kit includes a 2-part manifest. Before returning your kit, sign both copies. Then, return one copy with your box and keep the other for your records. Once our treatment company receives the kit, if we have your email on file, we will send a note confirming receipt. A second one will follow when the material is officially destroyed. This tracks and keeps you informed of the cradle-to-grave process of your medical waste.

Beyond that, all you must do is package your waste and give the box to your US postal carrier or take it to your local USPS office.

If you think a medical waste mailback might work for your facility, try MERI, with the assurance that our kits our safe, compliant, and USPS and DOT certified.

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