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How to Start a Medical Waste Disposal Company

Medical Waste Disposal Business

Do you want to start a medical waste disposal company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a medical waste disposal business with NO money and no experience plus a sample medical waste disposal business plan template.

Without being told, cleanliness is very essential no matter how you look at it because it will secure the health of the planet. So if you hope to serve Mother Earth by starting a business that centres on cleanliness, then now is your time to start off with a medical waste disposal business.

Proper research has shown that the most common medical wastes that need to be disposed in hospitals, laboratories, dental offices and clinics are the following: contaminated supplies, chemicals and needles. This business can be very stressful but it will always be worth the risk and time.

To successfully run a medical waste disposal business, you need to meet the rules and regulations set by your locality and state to make sure that you will be able to carry out your business without interruption. We suggest that you obey medical waste facility regulations in areas like treatment, storage, transportation, labeling and packaging.

This can only be done through contacting the public health department. After that, you have to apply for a permit for waste transporting from the department of toxic substances. This is very important in hauling medical wastes.

Also you have to make sure that your plant will be safe for the health of everyone in the vicinity, you need to make use of a treatment method that is approved by the state such as devices for radiation detection, alternative technology steam sterilization and incineration.

We suggest you seek the help of an expert engineer to conduct a review on your plant. After that, you need to contact the Department of Public Health for inspection. Also you need to buy the necessary approved equipment for your business such as the transport and storage equipment. In this process, it would be very necessary for you to team up with USPS for you to obtain certified containers.

It is strongly advised that you make your very own operational plan which includes the following general operations: planning for responding and preventing hazards, choosing security devices and emergency equipment, disinfection and scheduling equipment inspection and calibration.

In the emergency plan, you also need to detail your responses to equipment breakdown and natural disaster. The process of starting a medical waste disposal business can be very tasking, which is why we have taken time to analyze the business.

Steps to Starting a Medical Waste Disposal Company

1. Understand the Industry

Businesses in this industry collect, treats and disposes medical waste according to local, state and federal guidelines. We all know that medical waste is generated from healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, veterinary clinics, dentist offices, research labs and private practices.

The industry is highly regulated. Reports had it that the global medical Waste Management market size was valued at USD 21.0 billion in 2016 and it is believed it will grow with CAGR of 5.4% over the forecast period. Experts believe that the growth of the overall medical and healthcare industry is awaking the demand of these systems.

Note that continuous R&D in this industry is shining more light on advanced diagnostic, surgical and treatment solutions. Also growing prevalence of diseases such as cancer and other chronic disorders and increasing geriatric population and road accidents resulted in higher demand for these advanced medical solutions.

This is why commercial availability of advanced medical solutions coupled with expanding patient pool is opening up a large amount of waste and by-products. It’s very important to state that the development of innovative manufacturing techniques for drugs and medical devices in the pharmaceuticals industry is rising drastically.

This growth we believe is also reflected by the efficient supply of inventories needed in the day-to-day functioning of hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres. Note that these by products and residues require a proper system or service for collection, transportation, disposal, and recycling.

We believe that a lot of the treatment, disposal, and recycling procedures release harmful gases and compounds such as mercury and oxides. These hazardous compounds can cause land, air and water pollution, which may cause cancer.

This is why the development and adoption of advanced techniques in treatment, disposal, and recycling of these materials is driving industry growth. Also good government initiatives in funding medical waste management programs in growing markets are expected by experts to trigger the growth.

But have it in mind that a sharp shift in the market from larger players to smaller-size local players is expected to affect the growth.

We were able to know that developing countries invest high amount of capital for the adoption of sophisticated technologies to help in reducing pollution and other hazardous effects on the ecosystem during the treatment and disposal.

But quite a handful of these countries lack clear and stringent guidelines and regulations for the management of medical waste, which is affecting the same growth.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

Just like we already stated, the very first thing to do when planning to start and run a lucrative medical waste disposal company is to do in-depth research of waste handling procedures and regulations. Have it in mind that you will need to set up a professional business plan that must be presented to the appropriate authorities during the business registration process.

We strongly believe that there are also a lot of different factors to put into consideration when you do your research and planning, and these factors will help dictate the success rate of your business, as well as the eligibility for getting through the various approval processes.

You should know that medical waste and its proper disposal is a key concern for America. Here are the primary reasons:

  • The safety of healthcare personnel and patients, as well as the legal obligation in handling the waste
  • Environmentalists are concerned with the impact of medical waste, whether it is wasting up on a beach in Jersey Shore or being illegally dumped in landfill sites

United States in 2012 spent up to .5 billion on the proper disposal of medical waste. But with the annual growth of 4.8%, by 2017 the annual market is expected to climb to $3.2 billion. For example, consider these medical waste statistics:

  • Just hospitals in the U.S. produce more than 5.9 million tons of waste annually
  • Hospitals produce 33 lbs. of medical waste per day per staffed bed
  • Florida alone has approximately 38,000 facilities that generate biomedical waste

We don’t need more statistics to prove that almost all healthcare activities related to humans produce medical waste and they are your potential customers in this business.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

You need to understand that medical waste disposal companies dispose medical wastes such as needles, chemicals and contaminated supplies, which keep hospitals, dental offices, laboratories, clinics, the environment and the general public free of harmful medical waste.

Also they may respond to medical recalls and retrieve recalled products and materials. Niche ideas in this business may include;

  • Infectious waste disposal
  • Sharp equipment disposal
  • Pathological waste disposal
  • Household waste disposal
  • Radioactive waste disposal
  • Chemical waste disposal
  • Cytotoxic waste disposal
  • Disposable syringes and injector disposal
Level of Competition in the Business

The ever growing healthcare industry, increasing number of diagnostic tests, and flourishing medical devices and pharmaceutical industries have unanimously contributed towards the exponentially growing medical waste volumes in the U.S. Note that the U.S. medical waste is highly regulated by strict emission, disposal and recycling norms.

Research has shown that this industry has witnessed excellent expansion in the past few years, and technological developments, emergence of advanced and innovative disposal techniques, and sustained efforts by government and non-government bodies aims at ensuring public safety from hazardous medical waste at a sustained pace.

Have it in mind that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has collected over 2,100 tons of prescription medicines across the country within the year. But aside from being one of the largest producers of medical waste across the globe, the U.S. also has one of the most efficient medical waste management markets of the globe.

We believe that a large portion of the overall medical waste generated in the U.S. is of the non-infectious variety. Also the growing number of diagnostic tests in the country is the great reason behind the generation of vast volumes of infectious wastes from pathological labs in the country.

Then the geriatric population and the relatively larger possibility of these demographic contracting serious illnesses provides a big boost to the demand for medical services and diagnostic tests, which are major contributors to the rising volumes of medical waste.

Note that incineration of medical wastes has traditionally been the dominant medical waste management method in the U.S., buy it leads to the emission of several harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and dioxins, which contribute to global warming.

This we believe had caused the adoption of non-incineration technologies such as steam autoclave treatment, non-ionization radiation treatment, a variety of chemical treatments in the past few years. Non-incineration technologies are also gaining increased popularity owing to their less capital intensive nature and the possibility of turning waste into resource efficient materials using these techniques.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

  • Republic Services, Inc.
  • Sharp Compliance, Inc.
  • Stericycle, Inc.
  • Suez environment
  • Veolia
  • Waste Management, Inc.
Economic Analysis

It is very important that you know that this market is segmented on the basis of services and treatment performed on materials. We believe that the big companies in this industry provide services that include collection, transportation, storage, treatment, disposal, and recycling of waste. Note that these services can be performed onsite or offsite.

Usually disposal and treatment of material is outsourced offsite, which is why this segment accounts for the largest share. But to reduce the cost and holding time of waste, adoption of onsite disposal and treatment is growing drastically.

A lot of firms are starting up their own onsite treatment, disposal systems, and recycling units. Thus, this segment is expected to be the fastest growing during the forecasted period.

Reports have shown that the treatment and disposal of waste accounted for the largest revenue share in 2015. But recycling segment is expected to be the fastest-growing segment during the forecasted period due to development of innovative and eco-friendly techniques.

You also need to understand that medical wastes undergo a lot of treatments such as incineration, autoclaving, and thermal and chemical processing for disposal. The incineration segment holds the largest share since it is an easy and old method of disposal.

But the industry is beginning to observe that incineration leads to the emission of harmful gases and compounds that result in air, water, and land pollution, which cause infectious diseases such as asthma.

This is why treatments involving chemical-processing and other non-incineration methods are expected to replace incineration in the near future. The big companies hold a strong position in the global market because of their strong brand identity and their commercial availability across the globe.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

If you are planning to start and run a medical and infectious waste disposal business, we suggest you learn from people who are already in business.

Your local competitors will find it hard to give you advice or tips. But someone who owns a medical and infectious waste disposal business on the other side of the country will be much more likely to talk with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community.

As you are planning to start a medical and infectious waste disposal business, you need to know that you can either start from the scratch or buying a franchise. We agree that starting from the scratch can be attractive because they allow the owner to have more control and greater influence.

Then when it comes to funds, start-ups present significant challenges because lenders always hesitate to fund start-ups. But medical and infectious waste disposal franchises have known qualities and are less risky for lenders. But when put together, buying a business reduces uncertainty as well as many of the objections lenders use to disqualify start up entrepreneurs.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

There a lot of medical, dental and veterinary practices, as well as outpatient surgical centres and hospitals, that contract for medical waste disposal. This is why if you’re willing to invest in the equipment and tools required to carry out the process safely and legally, you may have a very lucrative business. The few challenges you might encounter may include;

  • State Licensing

You need to understand that States monitor and control medical and bio-hazard waste services. This is why you’ll need a permit from your state department of public health or environmental protection agency when starting this business. States including California and New Jersey need you to state the volume and nature of the waste you intend to process, the methods you will use and detailed plans for emergencies and closure of your operation.

  • Incinerator Specification

Have it in mind that the federal Environmental Protection Agency has detailed regulations on the types of incinerators that can be used, as well as a list of features and machine types the agency has ruled are illegal. We believe that the regulations include rules on how waste is handled, air pollution prevention and limits, destruction methods and aspects of the machinery that relate to what happens if it breaks or must be shut down.

  • Transportation

If you decide that your business will involve transporting medical waste, which is highly likely if you are collecting medical waste from small practices, then you have to apply to the federal Department of Transportation for a permit.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

Anyone who knows about the legal structures in the business world will agree that the LLC and the incorporation are the best legal structures to choose from when starting your medical waste disposal business. A lot of people will argue that the LLC is the most suitable but for the sake of this article, the incorporation is the best legal entity for your medical waste disposal business and here are the reasons.

Note that business incorporation is a loose umbrella term that covers a variety of options for legally structuring your business. Whatever business structure you choose needn’t be set in stone, and can be changed as your business matures.

For example, many small business owners start out as sole proprietorships or partnerships with formal incorporation taking place at a later date. Below are some of the benefits you can realize if you decide to incorporate your business:

  • Tax Benefits
  • Corporate Identity
  • Incorporating can give a greater sense of credibility to your business
  • Raising Capital
  • Unlimited Life
  • Your corporation can have an indefinite life and outlive you

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

Note that its very important that you choose a suitable name for your medical waste disposal business. A lot of individuals overlook the importance that a name can play in the development of a brand. The right name can help you to make a great first impression on people in your market and it can help you to build long term relationships and reputation.

Never you leave this important decision till the last minute like some business owners do. We suggest you put in some thought when coming up with a great name that will serve your business well. Below are a list of points that you may consider as you go about the process of naming your medical waste disposal business.

  • Relevance and professionalism
  • Be Unique, Original and Memorable
  • Legal considerations
  • Practical and functional
  • A name to be proud of

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

Have it in mind that businesses involved in specialized transport activities such as the removal and dumping of waste products will need specialized insurance to protect their interests. This type of custom insurance calls for an insurance expert in the fields of refuse removal, waste disposal and the transportation of recycling goods.

We believe there are many aspects to insurance for medical waste disposal businesses including vehicle damage, liability insurance, Product liability, dangerous cargo liability, accidental spills and many others.

We suggest that you have an insurance team with the knowledge and experience to properly asses your risk profile so you get sufficient coverage to safeguard your business investment and cover your losses in the event of an accident or misfortune.

Also you need waste insurance that is affordable and won’t break your budget. Then when it comes to safety and claims you need the type of insurance and risk management programs tailored for your industry and to your specific risk areas.

You need to be sure you are covered when it comes to matters and issues of workmen’s compensations, performance bonds, accidents  and spills, liability, loss of income and so on. We suggest you talk to an expert in insurance to help put you through.

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

Indeed the demand and competition in this industry is alarming, even with very few major players taking control of the industry. Intellectual property rights are needed in the Medical Waste Disposal industry for trademark and patent protection.

We suggest that you research the essentials of patenting any ideas and procedures you must have developed. It also includes your tagline, logo, and other marketing designs. You should know that without proper protection, your ideas may be developed by someone else which can jeopardize your business.

It’s also very important that you learn more about trademarks, copyrights, and the other legalities of the business. It’s very important to state that registering your trademark helps to protect the goodwill that you create to identify goods and services, not the goods and services themselves.

It is also important to note that proper protection of your trademark and patent can lead to a successful brand development and greatly heightening of the value of your company or product in the industry. Another way for you to protect your patents and trademarks in the medical waste disposal industry is by having your key employees sign an employment agreement.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

You need to understand that this business needs professional training before starting and operating it. This is because of the hazardous working conditions that come along with the medical waste disposal service.

Also aside from learning how to properly take care of and dispose medical waste, you also need to be educated in the various processes involved, the equipment needed at your waste disposal plant and you need to learn how to properly manage this kind of business without losses.

Note that to receive the appropriate training, you should contact your local department of public health for additional information. They will be able to assist you with the training programs that need to be completed, as well as the steps to be taken in order to get approval from local authorities.

  • Certified Medical Waste Disposal
  • Medpro etc.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

You have to understand that without this step, you will not be able to start and run your medical waste disposal business. We’ve stated that this industry has one of the strictest sets of regulations to meet, a proper business registration is also needed.

This will include a business registration number and a certificate of registration. Note that the approval processes will also include a certification of approval, which can be presented to clients in order to increase the chance of landing more jobs. The following approval certificates are required before you can register your business:

  • Hazardous waste transportation license
  • Solid waste disposal permit
  • Waste processing plant operation license

Have it in mind that your local department of health can aid you with getting these licenses. Also note that you will need to put into consideration where your waste disposal plant will be located before the appropriate audits can be performed as the inspectors will also need to conduct a thorough analysis of the environment and determine if the location could be a harmful addition to the surrounding environment.

Once these approvals have been made, you can continue to register your business with your federal, state and local government.

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Research has shown that one very lucrative business opportunity that will only get bigger in the coming years is the medical waste disposal business. This is why the medical waste disposal business is seen as a money making business. Ways to finance your medical waste disposal business are;

  • Personal savings
  • Bank overdraft
  • Loans
  • Family and friends
  • Partnership
  • Investors

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

You need to understand that your location will play in key role in the success of your business. Though your plant might be away from residential areas, but it will still serve as the place you treat and dispose medical waste. Have it in mind that your choice of location for your plant must be approved by the public health department of your state before you can obtain permission to go ahead to build the plant.

This is why when shopping for a location, we suggest you make sure that it is a place designated for the establishment of such company.

If you don’t have the financial capacity to build a new plant, then you should look for old ones to acquire. Note that the most important thing is to make sure you equip your plant with standard incinerator, steam sterilizers, radiation detection devices et al.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

It’s your duty as the owner of a medical waste disposal company to hire staff and take them through the proper training programs so they know what they need to do and how to do it. We believe that employing staff is a crucial part of this business operation as the procedures involved with waste removal services cannot be conducted by one person alone.

Some of the staff members you need to hire include employees that can help with waste removal, a bookkeeper to keep track of your income and expenses, and more. Immediately you find the best potential candidates, you should put them through proper training programs in order to equip them with the professional skills they will need to do their work.

Setting up your plant with good and standard equipment will be the major key to your business success. You have to research and analyse properly before you start dishing out cash to buy equipment. The equipment you will be needing may include this few..

  • Incinerators
  • Handling equipment
  • Carts
  • Shredding machines
  • Conveying machines
  • size reducing machines
  • compactors
The Service Delivery Process of the Business

For you to succeed in this business, you need to understand the various processes of medical waste disposal. We’ve smartly explained them briefly below..

  • Collecting and Segregating

First and foremost, the biomedical waste has to be collected in containers that are resilient during the handling process. We suggest you do not place sharp objects, used needles, syringes, or other contaminated tools in common waste disposal or recycle bins because the entire waste will be infectious by doing so.

This segregation also needs to be performed between the liquid and solid biomedical waste products. Categorizing the medical waste with correct segregation to isolate and manage each waste in the proper way. This is why the segregations come in coloured waste containers, label coding and plastic bags.

  • Storing and Transporting

There are specific requirements for storage facilities such as a secure area that is inaccessible to the general public, as well as separated from areas of food consumption. Note that the storage facilities also have to be accompanied with a refrigerator or freezer unit.

A lot of the facilities even provided special vehicles and protective devices to dispose, handle or transport the biomedical waste products.

  • Treatment

We believe that the needs of professional handling that work according the by-law regulation such as the OSHA are needed to make sure that the regulated medical waste (RMW) is handled properly.

The treatment process will use several medical waste equipment that range from handling, carts, shredding, conveying, size reducing, compactors, to sterilization or recycling. The following equipment is needed to properly process the waste in order to reduce the hazards, and maintain the environment:

  • Disposal

In the US, for solid waste, once medical waste producers have adhered to regulations for collecting, storing, transporting, and treating their waste, they may then use their municipal landfill and sanitary sewer system as their final disposal method.

Reports has shown that local municipal landfill is commonly used as the final place of your treated decontaminated biomedical waste.

But for fluids such as blood, suctioned fluids, excretions and secretions, almost every state and local government has its own regulations and guidelines to provide the best way to dispose it. In general, there are two recommended ways to handle medical waste fluids:

  • Collect fluids in a leak proof container, and solidified for autoclave treatment
  • Fluids (autoclave) can then be disposed into the sanitary sewer system

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

You need to understand that marketing is the key to your business success. High-performing medical and infectious waste disposal businesses leave no stone unturned when it comes to marketing.

But you have to understand that the inclusion of innovative tactics and techniques is important, but the consistent application of sound marketing principles may be the most important factor in raising your brand’s visibility with buyers. Marketing Strategies may include;

  • Sponsorship

Results have shown that event and team sponsorships are proven methods for growing the public profile of medical and infectious waste disposal businesses.

Note that the most effective sponsorships are those that occur over a period of time rather than being limited to a one-off event. To reduce costs and multiply outcomes, consider teaming up with a complementary business to co-sponsor targeted events.

  • Competitive Awareness

You need to know that there is nothing wrong with creativity, but if it precludes your messaging from being represented alongside other medical and infectious waste disposal businesses, you may not have all of the information you need to make an informed marketing decision.

A lot of businesses find it useful to hire a professional marketing firm to help them evaluate the competitive landscape and devise strategies to exploit competitors’ weaknesses.

  • Taking care of Negative Publicity

Note that bad situations inevitably get worse when companies haven’t prepared for the possibility of a negative news cycle.

We advise that you have an updated crisis response plan in place at all times. Mailing list providers can also provide quick access to accurate mailing lists, an important consideration if your crisis response plan contains a direct mail component.

17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Note that funding combined with growing medical waste has states seeking intermediaries that can control costs through competition. Green cleaning must become efficient, safe, cost effective and accountable to maintain these important medical waste disposal services. In other to win competitors you need to show the traits listed below

  • Value: Determining the true cost of service
  • Pricing: Lowering your costs to be competitive
  • Negotiation: Winning through persuasion
  • Accountability: Building a record keeping and reporting process
  • Training: Focusing on the patient

18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

It has become routine for companies in a lot of industries to spend vast sums on advertising and marketing their brands. But with copious product information now available to consumers through digital channels, it’s worth challenging the routine.

Promoting your brand would make your prospective customers know you exist and in turn call on you when they need your services.

  • Be who you are
  • Let your brand speak for you
  • Personalize your marketing
  • Be the everyday guy
  • Understand your industry
  • Focus on a niche