According to the World Healthcare Organization, roughly 15% of all healthcare related waste fits into the category of ‘biohazardous waste’. Biohazardous waste sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? The term ‘biohazard’ references a specific type of waste that poses a serious danger and threat to living organisms in the surrounding areas. There are many different kinds of biohazardous waste in the world and many different situations in which you would confront it. Today, our discussion will be geared toward highlighting the five most common types of biohazardous waste as well as what you can do if you ever encounter it on your own.

The Reality of Biohazardous Waste

While our statistic pulled from the World Healthcare Organization would paint biohazardous waste as an issue confined to hospitals, this isn’t true. Biohazardous waste can manifest in your day-to-day life in ways that you would never imagine. Unfortunately, if you are forced to confront biohazardous waste then the odds are good that you have witnessed some sort of tragedy.

Biohazardous waste can frequently be found at crime scenes, automobile accidents, in the homes of drug users and even in the area that a person has committed suicide. What do all of these locations have in common? There is a thread of violence or death connecting them all.

The unfortunate truth is that dealing with biohazardous waste can become a nightmare that directly impacts your life, right after another tragic event. Whether you walk into your home in order to find a loved one passed away from natural causes or you lose someone you love to suicide, the manifestation of biohazardous waste can only compound the tragedy at the scene of the event. Let’s look closer at these examples so that we can outline the five most common types of biohazardous wastes, according to medical experts around the world.

5 Common Examples of Biohazardous Waste

Discussing biohazardous waste in an effective manner requires us to start with a solid definition. According to most definitions, biohazardous waste consists of a waste product, typically bodily fluids or tissues, that run the risk of carrying hazardous pathogens.

Biohazardous waste is most commonly associated with medical environments but as we highlighted above, it can become a real part of your day-to-day life. Biohazardous waste isn’t solely confined to the byproduct of humans as it can also come from animals, discarded medical equipment, or drug paraphernalia. Let’s use this definition as a groundwork for highlighting the five most common examples of biohazardous waste.

Bodily Fluids – If you have a weak constitution, now would be a good time to quit reading. Bodily fluids are the most common form of biohazardous waste to be found at violent crime scenes, trauma-inducing accidents, and suicidal deaths. Bodily fluids to note, most commonly, are saliva, semen, spinal fluid, amniotic fluid and more.

Sharps Waste – Any sharp objects that were associated with the use of drugs or the interaction of a human body will be considered biohazardous. Commonly, you’ll find that glass, needles, medical gloves, covers and IV tubes are the most common forms of ‘sharps’ waste. While it may seem simple to throw away these objects, you must remember that all biohazards must be handled by a certified cleanup crew.

Anatomical Waste – Anatomical waste is separate from the aforementioned section regarding bodily fluids. In the event of anatomical waste, we are typically talking about tissues, body parts, and organs. Anatomical waste can become a carrier for serious diseases and deadly pathogens.

Bloodborne Pathogens – Exposed blood will always be considered a biological and biohazardous form of waste. Whether due to trauma at the scene of an accident or as part of a crime scene, exposed blood can cause a wide range of infections and potentially deadly diseases. Exposed blood can be a carrier for HIV, Aids, and Hep C among others.

Pharmaceutical Waste – The final category of biohazardous waste includes a range of different items. Typically, pharmaceutical waste can constitute drugs, bottled medications, x-rays, and products that have tar in them. It is just as important to have pharmaceutical waste disposed of by a professional as it is any other form of waste on this list.

Dealing With Biohazardous Waste Safely

Biohazardous waste is nothing to scoff at. While it may seem a simple task to just clean up these different categories of waste, the truth is that you would be putting yourself in real danger were you to attempt the job. Instead, call on a qualified biohazard remediation service in order to make sure that your safety and that of those around you remains a priority.


Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services like biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.