Best Practices for Choosing a Medical Waste Servicer
The arrival of the new year is always a good time to make sure critical business processes are functioning optimally. The disposal of medical waste is a prototypical example of such a process. Choosing a medical waste servicer can be an extensive exercise. To help you through it, we have identified the three critical components and listed them below. But be forewarned: when you are ready to follow these, grab your reading classes and a cup of coffee. These steps require you to read those lengthy, small print terms and conditions. The procedure may be grueling, but it could save your business a whole lot of headaches – not to mention dough – in the long run. Beware of Illegal Price Escalators (i.e., Read the Fine Print!): Unbeknownst to the general public, familiar brands in the medical waste disposal industry have been sued for illegal price increases hidden in small print contracts. For example, automated price increases associated with fuel and energy surcharges, even when there is no corresponding increase in U.S. fuel and energy costs. Long-Term Contracts and Evergreen Clauses Always be sure to read the fine print to find out: a) the length of your contract b) whether there is an “escape clause”; and c) evergreen clauses. Contracts vary anywhere between one and three years. An evergreen clause automatically renews the length of the agreement after a predetermined period, unless notice for termination is given. Companies will most likely withhold this information, making it more difficult to seek a competitive, cost-effective alternative. Cradle to Grave – Your Medical Waste The industry standard for medical waste disposal has traditionally been an autoclave-to-landfill process. An autoclave is a strong, heated container used for steam sterilization. Once the medical waste is treated by the autoclave, it makes way into a landfill. The business name, phone number and/or address may still be visible on some of the processed waste. Fear not, though – innovative technologies that completely eliminate the landfill process are making headway. Such processes shred your waste, making it unrecognizable, and allow for the possibility of using your waste to create energy for the power grid, because the waste does not come out wet, as is the case with autoclave-treated material. The medical industry is progressing and looking for ways to meet ever-loftier sustainability goals. Be sure to browse the internet or ask your rep where exactly your treated waste ends up. – Samantha Baron, Medical Account Manager
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