Texas Medical Waste Disposal Regulations

Texas Medical Waste Disposal Regulations


What You Need to Know About Texas Medical Waste Disposal Regulations in 99 Words

Texas medical waste disposal regulations require healthcare facilities to categorize waste correctly as either special waste from healthcare-related facilities, pharmaceutical, chemotherapy, or sharps waste. These categories must be segregated, properly packaged, and labeled.

Facilities must register with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and adhere to its rules, which mandate cradle-to-grave tracking. Transportation of medical waste requires a manifest system, and approved treatment methods, such as autoclaving or incineration, must be used before disposal.

Noncompliance can result in hefty fines, so it’s crucial for entities to stay updated with TCEQ’s evolving guidelines and training requirements.

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Defining Medical Waste

Medical waste, often referred to as biohazardous waste, encompasses materials generated during healthcare activities that may pose infection risks. This category includes items such as:

  • Used needles and syringes
  • Contaminated personal protective equipment
  • Pathological waste (tissues, organs, and body parts)

Texas Medical Waste Regulations


Texas medical waste disposal regulations are essential for preserving public health and safeguarding the environment. Healthcare facilities must diligently uphold these regulations to ensure the safe management and disposal of medical waste.

Staying informed about evolving guidelines, providing ongoing training for healthcare personnel, and collaborating with reputable waste disposal companies like BioMedical Waste Solutions are imperative steps in maintaining compliance and upholding the highest standards of safety and environmental responsibility in healthcare waste management.

Here are 7 essential steps that will ensure you meet Texas medical waste regulations:

1. Register With TCEQ

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) serves as the primary regulatory authority responsible for overseeing medical waste management in Texas. Healthcare facilities must register with the TCEQ and adhere to its comprehensive guidelines for proper medical waste disposal.

2. Ensure Proper Segregation & Packaging

Medical waste must be separated from other waste types at the point of generation. Texas medical waste disposal regulations stipulate that medical waste should be placed in containers that are rigid, leak-proof, and puncture-resistant. These containers must bear the international biohazard symbol and be clearly labeled as “Biohazardous Waste.”

3. Maintain Proper Storage

Facilities are required to store medical waste securely to prevent unauthorized access. TCEQ mandates that storage areas be clearly marked with warning signs and be maintained to prevent any potential release of contaminants. Waste should not be stored for extended periods, and containers must remain tightly sealed.

Medical waste in Texas must be stored securely, safeguarded against theft, vandalism, and unintended human or animal contact, and protected from the elements, such as rain and wind. Proper management of medical waste should prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for insects or rodents and should not emit noxious odors.

4. Hire Authorized Transportation

Authorized and registered transporters must be used when transporting medical waste off-site. These transporters are obliged to comply with specific regulations related to the handling and transportation of medical waste, including requirements for vehicle labeling and manifests.

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5. Adhere to Treatment & Disposal Regulations

Texas medical waste disposal regulations mandate that medical waste undergo treatment before final disposal. Acceptable treatment methods include incineration, autoclaving (steam sterilization), or other approved methods. Once treated, the waste may be disposed of in a sanitary landfill or other designated facilities.

6. Keep Mandatory Records

Healthcare facilities must maintain comprehensive records of their medical waste management activities, including manifests, treatment records, and disposal receipts. These records must be retained for a minimum of three years.

7. Train Your Staff

Personnel responsible for handling medical waste must receive proper training in the correct handling, packaging, and disposal procedures. This training is vital to ensure the safety of both healthcare workers and the broader community.

Regulated “Medical Waste”


Medical waste, as defined in Texas Administrative Code (§326.3(23), §1.132), includes the following materials:

  1. Animal waste (from animals intentionally exposed to pathogens)
  2. Bulk blood, bulk human blood, bulk human body fluids
  3. Microbiological waste
  4. Pathological waste
  5. Sharps (hypodermic needles)

For facilities primarily generating “sharps,” it’s worth noting that this constitutes a significant portion of medical waste, accounting for approximately 80% of waste generated by healthcare facilities in Texas.

Facilities Subject to Regulated Medical Waste


Determining whether your facility falls under the category of regulated medical waste disposal is a process of discerning what your facility is “not,” as per “30 TAC”:

Health care-related facilities do not include:

  • Single or multi-family dwellings
  • Hotels, motels, and other businesses that provide lodging or related services for the public.

If your facility is a “family dwelling” or an “establishment providing lodging for the public,” then follow specific recommendations for safely disposing of sharps and syringes (GI-418).

However, if your facility does not fit into these categories, you are legally obligated to adhere to the proper disposal of medical waste.

Proper Disposal of Regulated Medical Waste

Hospital Waste Disposal Sharps

The risks associated with improper medical waste disposal are clear. To address this issue, the City of Houston (Harrison County) relies on “private companies available to dispose of medical wastes.”

BioMedical Waste Solutions is one of the very few private Houston medical waste disposal companies that are registered and permitted by the state of Texas to handle, transport, store, destroy, and dispose of medical waste. We provide comprehensive Houston medical waste disposal services, ensuring compliance with all Texas medical waste disposal regulations and contributing to the responsible management of medical waste.

Texas Medical Waste Disposal Resources

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
5425 Polk St. Ste H, Houston, TX 77023-1452
(713) 767-3500

Texas Department of Health
1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756
(512) 776-7111

Texas Medical Association
401 West 15th Street, Austin, TX 78701
(512) 370-1300

For additional information or inquiries regarding the management of medical waste, please reach out to the Municipal Solid Waste Permits Section of the TCEQ at 512-239-2335 or via email at [email protected].

Please note that it is advisable to consult with your local city and your facility as they may have more stringent or specific medical waste disposal regulations beyond state and national guidelines.

Medical Waste Management Resources

Explore our medical waste management resources below.

Medical Waste Disposal Guide

Risks to Improper Medical Waste Disposal

OSHA Compliance Training

Sharps Container Disposal

Red Bag Waste Disposal

COVID-19 Waste Disposal

Medical Record Shredding