Are Disposable Gloves Considered Hazardous Waste?a person wearing blue disposable gloves is throwing something into a yellow hazardous waste bin with disposable gloves and other medical supplies

Are Disposable Gloves Considered Hazardous Waste?

Do you know where you should toss your disposable gloves after use? Disposable gloves can be considered medical waste or general waste, depending on the context and the specific regulations in your region. Here are some factors to consider:

Healthcare and clinical settings

In medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, or laboratories, disposable gloves used in direct patient care or procedures are typically classified as medical waste. These gloves may have come into contact with bodily fluids, pathogens, or hazardous substances, making them potentially infectious or biohazardous. In such settings, strict protocols and regulations govern the disposal of medical waste, including used gloves.

Non-healthcare settings

In non-healthcare environments such as households, food service establishments, or manufacturing facilities, disposable gloves are usually considered general waste. However, this can vary depending on local regulations. If the gloves are used for tasks unrelated to healthcare or potentially infectious materials, they can typically be disposed of as regular waste. It's important to check your local waste management guidelines to determine how disposable gloves should be handled in your specific area.

Gloves used at home that have been contaminated with blood, faeces, or other bodily fluids should be considered medical waste and need to be disposed of as such. Check with local waste management to find out where contaminated gloves used at home should be disposed of. This information may also be found on sites related to home healthcare.

Can I Reuse Disposable Gloves?

Disposable gloves are designed to be used once and disposed of properly. During the height of the covid-19 pandemic, the CDC released guidelines on how we should handle a glove shortage. These guidelines did involve reusing disposable gloves after they had been sanitized through specific procedures, and this practice undoubtedly helped conserve resources at a time when gloves were limited.

It is important to note, however, only certain types and brands were tested and given approval for this approach. Gloves that fit the wearer looser than they should, or gloves that have a loose and/or short cuff should not be permitted to be sanitized and reused. This is because it is much harder to ensure that the surface has been properly sanitized when a loose glove creates folds in the material.

The study did not apply to all settings, either. For example, it will never be acceptable to reuse gloves for procedures where sterile gloves are needed. GloveNation’s gloves were not part of this study, thus we do not encourage repeated use of our disposable gloves.

Follow Local Laws and Guidelines

To ensure proper disposal, it's advisable to follow the guidelines provided by your local authorities or waste management services. They will have specific instructions on how to manage different types of waste, including disposable gloves, to minimize potential risks and comply with local regulations.

Remember that promoting hygiene, safety, and responsible waste disposal practices are crucial to protect public health and the environment.