Hazardous and Biohazardous Waste-What’s the Difference


Numerous work sectors regulate various waste types regularly. These wastes include biohazard waste, hazardous waste, and so forth. One of the primary industries that contribute to the creation of this waste is the healthcare industry. Sorting the various waste categories is highly necessary. Deciding which category to place a type of waste in can be challenging. 

The medical staff must adhere to state rules and procedures to dispose of the waste carefully. It is important to note that biohazard and hazardous waste do not come under the same category and need different treatments. The following text is a guide that will show you how to distinguish between biohazard waste and hazardous waste with examples.

What is Hazardous Waste?

Many industries and facilities, including construction sites, healthcare facilities, factories, military facilities, and jettisoned equipment, can stimulate hazardous waste. In simpler terms, hazardous waste is a substance that has been discarded and has the potential to cause significant harm to humans or the environment. Various methods help characterize the properties of Hazardous Waste Disposal. 

The following are some of the characteristics of Hazardous waste:

  • Ignitability – This property determines a variety of metrics, including the material’s propensity to erupt into combustion or its Flashpoint.
  • Instability – Unstable methods, – i.e., those that may spontaneously ignite, emit harmful fumes/cases/vapors when heated, and react when compressed or mixed with water, are classified as reactively hazardous waste.
  • Toxicity – It is easy to determine by analyzing the waste leachate using a testing procedure known as the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure. 

What are examples of Hazardous Waste?

There are several examples of hazardous waste that will help you understand the concept better:

1.Used solvents

Large and powerful acid or base solutions, aqueous solutions of toxic organic chemicals and heavy metals (lead, mercury, silver, chromium, barium, and so on), used equipment oil, sulfides, potent oxidizers, and water-reactive substances are some examples of used solvents.

2.Reactive Chemicals

Lithium-sulphur batteries, ammunitions, and explosives are some examples of reactive chemicals.


Pathogens such as arsenic, trichloroethylene, or mercury can detect at levels that are beyond regulatory limits, and the substance identifies as toxic and thus hazardous.


Sulphuric Acid and Hydrochloric Acids are some examples of corrosives. 

How is proper storage and disposal of Hazardous Waste done?

Appropriate storage and disposal of hazardous waste containers are critical practices that do more than just endorse a safe working environment but also ensure you comply with legislative requirements.

Aside from explaining and adhering to all national, regional, and municipal hazardous waste legislation, here are some tips to help you store and handle your waste safely:

  • Use sealed containers to block leakage and other stimulants from attempting to enter the containers.
  • Use storage units that are appropriate for the sort of waste deposited and are long-lasting, corrosion-resistant materials.
  • Verify that wastes have been preserved in a location difficult to recourse to unauthorized individuals, explicitly marked as a hazardous materials storage facility, and specifically designed to avoid supplementary confinement.
  • Decrease the portion of hazardous waste produced on-site by continuously reviewing their volume.
  • Find an authorized waste collecting agency that will ensure safe hazardous waste disposal.
  • Maintain an updated contingency plan with up-to-date details for hazardous waste management and administration.

What is Biohazardous Waste?

Medical waste that comprises pathogenic organisms is considered biohazardous waste. It contains several potentially contagious materials, such as laboratory and dental practice waste. Additionally, it is a consequence of human or animal diagnostics, vaccination, or therapy.

There are a variety of acronyms associated with biohazardous waste. These words are interchangeable among those in the healthcare field. Any waste produced during a particular healthcare process includes medical, clinical, and biomedical waste. These are the= common terminology.

However, there is a distinction between standard medical waste and biohazard medical waste. Tissues, sharps waste, infected items, and liquids are all considered “biohazardous” by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Additionally, it classifies animal tissue and uninfected equipment as “standard medical waste.” Various methods help characterize the properties of Biohazardous waste. 

The following are some of the characteristics of Biohazardous waste:

  • Rigidness – Any non-sharp substance that comes into contact with either human or animal carcasses characterizes as solid biohazard waste because it cannot be bent or moved.
  • Pathological Waste – Every amputated organ, tissue, and bodily component from an animal or a human is considered pathological waste. Waste products from biopsies are part of this category. 
  • Microbiological Waste – This type of waste is commonly characterized as laboratory waste. This group comprises waste products from the synthesis of biologicals and insecticides. 

What are examples of Biohazardous Waste?

There are several examples of biohazardous waste that will help you understand the concept better:

  1. Sharps Waste – Some examples of sharps waste are needles, syringes, lancets or fingersticks, scalpels, glass slides, and broken glass. 
  2. Solid Waste – Personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of the best examples of solid waste. Others include Petri dishes, towels, linen sheets, etc. 
  3. Liquid Waste – Any kind of bodily fluids are examples of this category.
  4. Laboratory Agents – Disposable dishes and samples are two illustrations. The equipment professionals use to combine samples and discarded pathogens are additional examples.

How is proper storage and disposal of Biohazardous Waste done?

It is necessary to collect, handle, manage, and dispose of biohazardous waste by employing procedures that reduce the danger of spills and contamination for staff members, workers, and the general population. All biohazardous wastes must be kept within the facility while expected to be collected to adhere to this guideline.

  • The medical field has allocated specialized disposal containers for the collection of sharps. These are chemically stable, leak-proof, and puncture-resistant.
  • A specified receptacle coated with an autoclave bag is where healthcare workers should place their solid waste collection.
  • Healthcare professionals must always collect Liquid biohazard waste in leak-proof receptacles. They must designate the vessel as a biohazard and seal it to stop it from toppling.
  • Pathological waste must be double-bagged by clinical staff to eliminate spills. Furthermore, as with liquid wastes, employees should preserve them in separate containers.


It is crucial to separate hazardous and biohazardous waste from common trash for proper waste management. These must be kept separately and disposed of appropriately, or they could be detrimental to the environment. Everything needs identification and a catalog. The most effective approach can be understanding the terminology used to describe various wastes. More medical facilities must raise awareness and give their staff the necessary training. Several state regulations must be followed, and strict action should be taken against the workers not adhering to the policies. Practice safe biomedical activities by following these preceding steps. 

James Morkel

Tech website author with a passion for all things technology. Expert in various tech domains, including software, gadgets, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies. Dedicated to simplifying complex topics and providing informative and engaging content to readers. Stay updated with the latest tech trends and industry news through their insightful articles.

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