Acceptance Guidelines for Healthcare Customers

Cascade has extensive experience working with healthcare clients and understands the unique needs you have for patient privacy, accountability, responsiveness, and value.

Employees at Cascade handle each piece of electronic equipment in order to meet our high standards for data security, asset tracking, and material recovery. To protect our employees and ensure proper disposal of medical items, and also to prevent the hassle of returning equipment, Cascade has implemented acceptance guidelines for medical and laboratory items. Please help us reduce the risk of exposure to potentially infectious materials and ensure the proper disposal of hazardous wastes by following these easy acceptance guidelines.

Items Not Accepted By Cascade
Please ensure that these are not shipped to Cascade, either by themselves or inside electronic devices.

  • Sharps, probes, or hypodermic needles
  • RCRA pharmaceuticals
  • Reagents, detergents, or other chemicals
  • Asbestos insulation
  • Mercury thermometers or manometers
  • Dental waste
  • Biohazard “red bag” wastes
  • Items contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials
  • Any item contaminated with radiation or containing radioactive materials or with a radiation sticker
  • Any liquids or gases (including items with refrigerants)
  • Medical equipment without appropriate paperwork (see below)
  • Possibly other hazardous items not listed

Items with Special Considerations

  • Mercury-containing devices – Items that contain mercury require special handling and disposal. Cascade accepts mercury ampoules and mercury-wetted switches contained in electronic devices as long as they are not leaking and are packaged to prevent damage and spills. Cascade cannot accept mercury debris such as spill clean up materials, dental waste, containers of mercury, and items that contain mercury in plastic or glass tubes that are not attached to a circuit board. Items that may contain mercury, such as manometers or thermometers, are also not accepted.
  • Electronic Medical Equipment – Cascade requires that all medical equipment sent to us for processing be decontaminated and/or show evidence that it does not have any surface contamination with potential bloodborne pathogens. Hospitals, police departments, cardiac science organization and labs that handle bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) are required by OSHA (29 CFR 1910.1030) to implement a BBP program and control the handling and disposal of items with BBPs. This includes medical equipment sent to vendors like Cascade for final processing. Any item sent off site that may contain BBPs must be clearly labeled and the vendor must be informed in order to protect all parties. In addition, there are certain medical devices and supplies we cannot accept, regardless of whether they are decontaminated (see list above).

To ensure the safety of Cascade staff, we require the surfaces of all devices to be free from infectious material contamination and that organizations handling BBPs have an effective BBP control program in place. In addition, it is very helpful for each medical device sent to Cascade to be delivered with a Certificate of Decontamination. The information provided in a Certificate of Decontamination allows our trained technicians to determine what measures must be taken to uphold universal precautions and prevent exposure to infectious materials. The certificate should accompany each device or pallet for items used in a medical setting, excluding office electronics such as monitors, printers, and desktop computers. If the equipment has not been used, the paperwork must clearly state that the equipment is unused and therefore contains no infectious substances.

Certificates of Decontamination
In order for a certificate of decontamination to be valid, it must contain the following information:

  • Equipment make, model or type, or serial or inventory number
  • Name and company of the person completing the decontamination
  • Date of decontamination
  • Name, city and state where the decontamination occurred
  • Specific description of the process used (e.g. submersion in a 10% bleach solution, autoclave, disinfectant wipe of external surfaces, etc.)
  • A certification statement followed by a signature verifying that the procedures took place as described

If the item is a medical device that has not been used, the paperwork must state that the device is in unused condition and therefore contains no potential for infectious substances. Sample forms are available upon request.

Important: An item that requires decontamination must be certified to be decontaminated on all exposed surfaces.  Because Cascade handles and inventories collected equipment, our employees can become exposed to infectious waste on the outside of equipment. We work with licensed, professional contractors with specific expertise in the medical equipment and hazardous waste field (Veolia) to disassemble and recycle these devices under protected conditions. Download our sample Certificate of Decontamination here.

Packaging Tips

  • Please separate used medical equipment from office and unused equipment prior to shipment.
  • Tape any certificates of decontamination directly to the equipment or pallet.
  • Notify Cascade a day in advance if shipping medical devices or other items of concern.
  • Wrap and package all items securely and ensure that all are clearly labeled.
  • Make sure appropriate receptacles for sharps and other items are available. This reduces the tendency for items that do not meet our acceptance guidelines to get mixed in with electronics.

For additional information, contact: Nivedita Shastry, Cascade Environmental, Health, Safety & Sustainability Coordinator,