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    Complyrpedia is the knowledge base for businesses that are required to comply with California environmental regulations

Medical Waste Management


One expects to find medical waste at hospitals, medical clinics, veterinary clinics and laboratories. However, other organizations also generate medical waste. These include police labs, fire departments and public recreation facilities. Any organization that handles medical waste is legally responsible for its handling, management and disposal.

Regulatory Agencies

“Additionally, the [Medical Waste Management Program] MWMP acts as the local enforcement agency in a number of local jurisdictions that elected to have the State implement the large quantity generator inspection program for medical waste management (California Department of Public Health: Medical Waste Management Program website).

Program Inclusion Conditions

A facility is required to meet medical waste requirements if it handles or generates medical waste as defined below:

The waste is generated or produced as a result of the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals and research pertaining these activities, production or testing of biologicals, accumulation of home generated sharps waste, trauma scene clean-up or illicit drug use.


The waste is either of the following:

  • Biohazardous Waste
  • Sharps Waste(Any device or object used to puncture or lacerate the skin)

Medical waste is not:

  • Waste generated in food processing or biotechnology that does not contain an infectious agent.
  • Waste generated in biotechnology that does not contain human blood or blood products or animal blood or blood products suspected of being contaminated with infectious agents known to be communicable to humans.
  • Urine, feces, saliva, sputum, nasal secretions, sweat, tears or vomitus unless it contains fluid blood.
  • Waste such as paper towels, paper products, articles containing non-fluid blood, and other medical solid waste.
  • Hazardous waste, radioactive waste, or household waste
  • Waste generated from normal and legal veterinarian, agricultural, and animal livestock management practices on a farm or ranch.

Required Tasks


What to Expect During an Inspection

Agency enforcement staff will inspect how a facility is storing waste, if it is being removed in accordance with requirements, and if appropriate records are kept.

Related Programs


California Department of Public Health: Medical Waste Management Program

California Department of Public Health: Medical Waste Management Act, January 2017


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