Did you know there is a surprisingly easy way to compliantly dispose of tattoo medical waste? If you own a tattoo parlor, you probably know that your needle sharps and other infectious waste can’t be tossed out with your standard trash.
What you might not know is the increasingly popular method of compliantly disposing of your waste through a mail back waste system.
Tattoo Medical Waste Disposal by Mail
Many people refer to this disposal method as a “Medical Waste Mail Back Program.” At MERI, we call it a Medical Waste Recovery System (MWRS).
Most infectious waste producers, including tattoo parlors, rely on a medical waste disposal company to pick up and transport their infectious waste. However, many waste generators find a mail back system is an easier way to dispose of waste, while remaining compliant.
What sort of waste are we referring to? Any items that come into contact with bodily fluids and cannot be sterilized are considered infectious waste, and can be disposed of through a MWRS kit. At a tattoo parlor, that often includes the following:
- Tattoo needles
- Protective gloves
- Paper towels
- Plastic protective covers (for covering the tattoo machines)
- Cotton swabs
- Ink caps and leftover ink in the caps
- Leftover ointment
Here’s how it all works:
How our Mail Back System Works
All infectious waste must be separated, stored and transported in certified, impenetrable containers to protect anybody who handles it.
Each MWRS kit includes certified infectious waste collection containers (that can also hold sharps) that abide by the strict Department of Transportation (DOT) and United States Postal Service (USPS) shipping standards. Containers range from one quart in size up to two gallons, depending on the amount of waste you generate.
Once you receive a kit, the disposal procedure is straightforward. When you fill a container, you can ship it directly to your waste disposal company. When they receive it, they’ll notify you by email, and then again once the waste has been safely destroyed. This helps you properly manifest your waste destruction from beginning to end.
Each MWRS kit includes the following items:
- Collection container
- Heavy plastics
- Simple-to-follow instruction sheet
- Manifest to document proper treatment and disposal
- Prepaid return shipping label
How a MWRS Kit Guarantees Compliant, Lawful Disposal
The DOT’s penalty for non-compliant medical waste disposal is steep, up to $25,000 per violation per day. Therefore, it’s crucial that no matter how you dispose of your medical waste, it’s done compliantly.
Every MWRS kit includes a certified impenetrable and rigid container that meets the following DOT requirements:
Will withstand the elements
The DOT states that certified testing labs must meet a series of tests before a box can be used in a MWRS kit.
These tests ensure each box will survive every harsh element associated with transportation, from trauma to bad weather. Tests include humidity testing, applied heat, and impact testing – dropping a box from 30 to 40 feet. If contents leak from the box under any of these conditions, it cannot be used for transportation.
Has the USPS stamp of approval
The containers must pass several more requirements set by the USPS even after completing the DOT’s. These include marking each box with an easily recognizable graphic that indicates it contains hazardous material. Kits must also include a manifest that indicates the contents of each container.
Includes triple-layer protection
Each MWRS kit includes a triple layer of protection: The container itself is placed inside a spill-resistant plastic bag, which is then placed inside two industrial strength cardboard boxes. This level of protection prevents spillage during transportation.
Disposal companies take care of all these legal requirements for you. Your only obligation is to sign the manifest before shipping your kit for disposal and to keep a copy for yourself. Beyond that, just package your waste and give the box to the postman (only the United States Postal Service will collect an infectious waste mail back kit).
While compliance is an important issue, many waste generators also find that using a mail back system may be cheaper than most other removal methods.
MWRS Kits Providing Cheaper Waste Disposal for Tattoo Parlors
MWRS kits are ideal for facilities who generate less than two, 2-gallon containers worth of infectious waste per month. If your tattoo parlor exceeds this amount, a service pick up might cost less.
However, for small generators of infectious waste – like tattoo parlors – calling a waste disposal service to transport that same amount of waste could cost up to double the price, depending on your number of containers and location(s).
The most cost-effective way to use a MWRS kit is to purchase a couple larger collection containers rather than multiple smaller ones. Provided you store these containers in a secure location, infectious waste can generally be stored indefinitely.
If you’re flying through the larger containers, a monthly or quarterly pick up option could be more affordable than a mail back system.
Still, in most cases, using a mail back system could save your tattoo parlor time and money. For any small waste generators, a MWRS kit may provide a more efficient option for compliantly disposing of your medical waste.
Learn how to easily track, properly handle, and affordably dispose your biohazard or infectious waste.