SPECTRE Blog Series: Considerations for Managing Category A Waste in a Healthcare Facility-Planning for and Minimizing the Amount of Category A Waste

In this post, we will discuss the following considerations for managing Category A waste in a healthcare facility:

  • Planning for Category A waste
  • Minimizing the amount of Category A waste

Planning for amount of Category A waste: The amount of Category A waste generated is largely site-specific. Hospitals that will stabilize and transfer patients infected with a special pathogen to another facility may generate relatively little waste. However, facilities that will treat these patients for a longer period will likely generate a more significant amount of waste. These institutions should have sufficient on-site storage space or treatment capacity to inactivate Category A waste generated by their facility.

Minimizing the amount of Category A waste: During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, patient care activities sometimes resulted in more than ten 30- to 55-gallon packages of waste per day, mainly due to the amount of PPE hospital staff used. Waste management plans should consider and address measures to limit the amount of waste generated.

  • Separate infectious and non-infectious waste.
  • Bring only essential items directly needed for care in a patient room.
  • Remove all outer wraps on pre-packaged kits or remove any internal packaging before bringing into the contaminated area. Further, favoring products with minimal packaging or those able to be reused following inactivation can achieve similar goals.
  • Protect large items (e.g., mattresses) from gross contamination through protective outer coverings.
  • Encourage and provide education in optimizing laboratory testing practices to minimize unnecessary testing.
  • Train healthcare staff on proper waste segregation and sorting. Provide ongoing education and training on waste reduction strategies, infection prevention, and proper waste handling procedures.
  • Conduct regular waste audits to assess the types and quantities of waste generated.

 Alexandra McKenna Lewis is a 4th-year medical student at the University of Texas Medical Branch John Sealy School of Medicine.





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