What Happens to Medical Waste?
The proper treatment and disposal of medical waste can be a tough job, but it’s one that is vitally important. The main sources of medical waste include hospitals and smaller establishments such as health centers, medical clinics, laboratories, doctors’ surgeries and veterinary practices, and the less obvious ones include tattoo parlors. When medical waste must be disposed of, what happens to it and where does it go?
Medical waste is defined as “any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals” and includes blood-soaked bandages, culture equipment, surgical gloves, needles, swabs, and lancets.
Individual states have set their own criteria for handling both hazardous and non-hazardous medical waste, but two common methods of disposal include autoclaving and incineration.
Autoclaving uses steam sterilization, and it is the most effective and environmentally friendly option available. Basically, the steam autoclave is a pressure cooker that uses steam under pressure as its sterilizing agent. This means that all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores are destroyed. Autoclaves work by allowing steam to enter and maintaining extremely high pressure for at least 15 minutes. This ensures there is no risk of contamination to the public. Autoclaves can be used to process the majority medical waste, and are easily scaled to meet the needs of any medical organization.
Unlike the normal waste produced in homes, medical waste that includes contaminated needles and sharps should be packed in containers, like red bags and bins, to avoid injury to handlers. If not autoclaved, the waste will be incinerated. Incineration reduces the size of solid waste and turns it into ash. Often the ash is chemically treated to ensure that there are no remnants of hazardous materials damaging the environment. Once the waste is deemed safe, the ash is taken to a land dump and deposited there.
MedXWaste will provide your facility with all of the equipment necessary for proper medical waste disposal and 90% of our waste is autoclaved while the rest is incinerated. Our services include biohazard and biomedical waste disposal of red bags, needles and sharps containers for hospitals, medical and dental offices, veterinarian clinics, assisted living facilities, and tattoo shops. We guarantee to deliver the same reliable and superior service each and every time.