Every day, a comparatively large amount of potentially infectious and hazardous waste is generated in health care organizations. The organizations are like hospitals and other facilities around the world. This bio-medical waste must be prudently treated and disposed of in order. This is to avoid contamination and the spread of infectious pathogens. Therefore many health facilities and hospitals alike are supposed to follow very strict actions when collecting, disinfecting and disposing of the medical waste.
But What Take place With Medical Waste Once It Leaves The Facility?
The simplest nontoxic wastes are paper trash, food scraps and items like those plastic thermometer caps and medicine packaging. They are first sorted to see if anything can be recycled and reused. Lead (in protective clothing) and silver (in X-ray films) can be recycled and reused, along with materials such as cardboard and high-quality office paper. Afterwards the leftover waste goes into the landfill just like other ordinary trash. Such waste has no risk of being a health hazard and therefore the treatment and disposal methods for it are honestly basic.
Infectious wastes are blood, body fluids, needles, blades and laboratory cultures. They are next in line. Such waste is collected separately and placed inside specially marked plastic tubs that are lined with red bags to prevent leakage due to piercing. They are moved to a biohazard room for storage until they can be picked up for final disposal when the tubs are full.
Pathological wastes are organs and other body parts that have been removed from patients as well as waste from chemotherapy. This type includes the bags that held drugs that were dispensed intravenously. This waste is collected in separate containers and moved to a storage room for the next step of the process.
When the waste was appropriately collected and segregated, the tubs containing the pathological waste are picked-up in special covered vans. The reason of that to transport them to the hospital’s waste management counterparts, who will then decontaminate the waste using one of the following methods:
- Autoclaving – uses steam at high temperatures to penetrate through the waste material and kill all the micro-organisms existed in the waste.
- Incineration Technology – employs combustion of waste via thermal energy, converting the waste into inert material and gases.
- Microwave Irradiation – generates high frequency waves. They cause the particles within the waste material to vibrate, generating heat from within, killing all pathogens.
- Plasma Pyrolysis – an environmentally friendly process that changes waste into reusable byproducts through the intense heat generated by the plasma.
The waste can also be disposed of in landfills along with other regular solid waste. Nowadays healthcare facilities are also employing Waste Management Committees. They set policies and procedures to be followed and monitored to ensure proper medical waste disposal as well as compliance with legal policies.