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3 Ways to Dispose of Medical Waste?

3 Ways to Dispose of Medical Waste?

You just finished treating someone and have discovered you’ve generated medical waste. For a millisecond, you fantasize about how convenient it would be to toss it over in the waste bin with all the other waste. Then, the idea of getting a disastrous EPA fine for non-compliance quickly snaps you back into reality. So, after medical waste is segregated into the proper waste container, what’s next? Well, we’re glad you asked. All medical waste that’s generated must be treated and rendered non-infectious. Here are three ways medical waste can be treated.

Autoclave

An autoclave is a sealed, pressurized chamber that uses steam and heat to treat medical waste. Once the waste was been through an autoclave, it is no longer considered infectious material. Although autoclaves are generally considered more environmentally friendly, this method does have its shortcomings. For example, there are limitations on the type of medical waste that can be treated using an autoclave like chemotherapy, pharmaceutical, and chemical wastes. These types of waste are not suitable for autoclave treatment because of the possibility of releasing toxic gas by-products. Additionally, autoclaves can develop problems over time, such as cold spots in the chamber and leaks which can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the autoclave.

Incineration

Incinerating medical waste essentially breaks down the material completely by burning it, leaving nothing but ash. Incineration is probably the most widely-used method of treating all bio-hazardous, infectious, and other medical waste to date. Incinerating waste also reduces the volume of waste that enters the landfill. Although incineration is a highly effective method, poorly designed incinerators can often release harmful gases and particles into the air which can potentially harm the environment.

Microwave Technology

Microwave technology is an emerging technology for the treatment of medical waste. This is because microwave radiation works on the water that is mixed with the waste instead of the solid components of the waste. It is similar in nature to autoclave, utilizing a heat source to decontaminate various types of medical waste. Microwave treatment works better for waste that is not 100% dry or solid waste, as the moisture allows the heat to penetrate deeper, and the steam sterilizes. If the waste is dry, it is shredded and mixed with water and ‘wetted’ before treating it with microwave radiation. A double benefit of shredding is that it also reduces the volume of healthcare waste transported to landfills.
Need more information regarding disposal or treatment of your medical waste? Call or email Pledge Waste Services 713-528-8575 or help@pledgews.com
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