Northumberland County warns residents not to put medical waste in recycling and garbage bins

An example of medical waste disposed of through the recycling system and sorted at the Material Recovery Facility in Grafton. Northumberland County

Northumberland County is reminding residents not to include medical waste in their curbside recycling and garbage collection.

On Tuesday, the county said medical waste was recently discovered at a material recovery facility in the community of Grafton.

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Mobushar Pannua, county director of transportation, waste and facilities, says items such as IV bags and tubing, gauze, latex gloves, syringes and medication must be handled properly to avoid the risk of harm to county staff as well as community members.

“We do see hazardous materials coming through our landfill and recycling facilities, which is cause for serious concern,” he said. “Improper disposal of medical waste poses harmful and potentially life-threatening risks to our collection and sorting staff, and also presents a risk to community members, pets and wildlife at curbside.”

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He says medical waste such as IV bags and medical sharps can be dangerous if not properly handled.

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Residents can dispose of these materials by:

  • Returning medication, prescription drugs and medical sharps (placed in an approved sharps container) to their local pharmacy or household hazardous waste depot (placed in a sealed container such as a two-litre pop bottle)
  • Keep sharps separate from medications/ prescription drugs
  • Placing items such as IV tubing, IV bags, gauze and latex gloves in their household garbage — never in the recycling

Visit the county’s website for more information on household hazardous waste depots and proper medical waste disposals.

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