Nursing home medical waste disposal often involves a pickup of infectious waste. However, there may a cheaper alternative. A medical waste mail back system allows for easier and often less expensive waste disposal for small waste generators.
This disposal method is known as a “Medical Waste Mail Back Program.” At MERI, we have a different name for it: a Medical Waste Recovery System (MWRS).
Whether you’re disposing bandages, hypodermic needles or lancets, a medical waste mail back system is a cost-efficient way to compliantly dispose of your infectious waste. Let’s take a look at how the system works, and how it can benefit nursing homes.
How the Mail Back System Works
As you likely already know, you cannot dispose of infectious waste with or in the same manner as your standard trash. Instead, you must separate, store and transport it a certified, impenetrable container. That way it ensures the safety of anybody who handles it.
Most nursing homes already abide by these standards. They properly store their waste and then call a medical waste disposal company for pickup and transportation. However, an MWRS kit could make the process easier and more affordable.
MWRS kits come with certified infectious sharps and waste collection containers that meet the strict shipping and safety standards set by the Department of Transportation and United States Postal Service. These containers range in size from one quart up to two gallons, depending on your disposal needs.
Once you fill a container, you can ship it directly to a waste disposal company. They’ll alert you by email when they receive the container, and another email after it’s been safely destroyed, so you can properly and sustainably manifest the destruction of your waste from beginning to end.
Here’s what’s included in each MWRS kit:
- Collection container
- Heavy plastic liner bag
- Zip tie to secure bag
- Packing boxes
- Simple-to-follow instruction sheet
- Manifest to document proper treatment and disposal
- Prepaid return shipping label
Is a Mail Back System Right for Your Nursing Home?
The answer to this question comes down to how much medical waste your facility produces every month.
If your facility generates less than five containers of infectious waste per month, an MWRS kit will likely save you money in the long run.
For instance, right now we service a nursing home that disposes of between one and two sharps containers per month. It would cost them substantially more for us to come pick the waste up than it does for them to use our mail back system.
If you’ve never heard of a mail back system, you might be wondering how it saves you money. Let’s break it down by cost.
Mail Backs Provide Cheaper Waste Disposal for Nursing Homes
A MWRS kit is ideal for disposing small amounts of waste. Generally, if you were to call a waste disposal service to pick up that same amount of waste, it could cost up to double the price, depending on the number of containers and your location.
To use the system in the most cost-efficient way, we recommend purchasing a larger MWRS collection container rather than numerous smaller ones. As long as you store the containers in a secure location, infectious waste can often be stored indefinitely.
If you find you’re filling even the larger containers quickly, a monthly or quarterly pick up option may be more economical than using a mail back system.
Still, for any nursing home generating small amounts of infectious waste, using a mail back program for disposal could save you time and money. It’s the most efficient way you – or any small infectious waste generator – can compliantly dispose of medical waste.