When you think about the kinds of places that generate medical waste, a tattoo shop might not be the first place you picture. But even though it’s a somewhat non-traditional practice, a tattoo shop falls under the same rules and regulations as everyone else – after all, these artists use a needle for a paintbrush.
Anything that comes into contact with bodily fluids (such as blood, mucus, plasma, semen, etc) that cannot be sterilized needs to be disposed of as regulated medical waste. Tattoo needles definitely fit the bill. If not disposed of properly, this kind of hazardous waste can be very harmful to others and the environment… and of course, it’s also illegal.
Needles, whether from a tattoo shop or a dentist’s office, should always share the same final resting place: an approved sharps container. When it’s full, that sharps container needs to be disposed of promptly – and with safety and regulatory compliance in mind.
(Check out our article Special Treatment Considerations: Sharps for more information on the disposal and treatment of sharps and needles)
If you’re curious about the other types of equipment used in a tattoo shop that also need to be treated as regulated medical waste, here’s a quick list:
- Protective gloves;
- Face masks;
- Cotton swabs;
- Ink caps;
- Paper towels;
- Protective covers;
- Leftover ointment;
It’s common knowledge that needles can’t be sterilized. But everything else made of metal can usually be sterilized in an autoclave and reused – including piercing needles, needle bars, tattoo machine tubs, and tapers. If you need assistance with your sharps and medical waste disposal, contact Hazardous Waste Experts today at 800-936-2311 to speak with an expert. We can assist you with all of your hazardous and medical waste concerns (including tattoo waste), as well as advise you on your specific situation.