How should healthcare facilities handle COVID waste disposal?


As of October 14th the number of coronavirus cases has reached 38 404 206, with over a million recorded deaths worldwide. This new pandemic has put extra strain on the healthcare facilities of many countries as they have to deal with an increased amount of patients, and thus, an increased amount of medical, COVID related waste as well. Disposal has always been an issue, but capacity will be that much more important for many hospitals and clinics.

In the following article, we will discuss the most relevant problems related to the pandemic, as well as how these can be handled by Celitron’s very own solution for onsite coronavirus waste disposal!

The relation between COVID-19, PPE, and medical waste disposal

The main mode of transmission in the case of the coronavirus is through small respiratory droplets that people breathe out, which means infection is made even easier through close contact, as well as coughing and sneezing. While it hasn’t been conclusively proven, even surfaces could provide a risk of contamination, which could lead to an even greater amount of COVID waste that will need effective disposal.

As is the case with other types of infectious medical waste, all personnel handling it need to wear adequate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment): gloves, boots, long-sleeved medical gowns, googles, and of course, a mask. Naturally, each time someone handles potentially hazardous waste proper hand hygiene should also be performed.

The problem is that according to the World Health Organization many cities have reported an enormous increase of the medical waste generated at healthcare facilities since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The reason behind this isn’t just related to rise in patients though: it can also be linked to the ever-present and necessary use of PPE that unfortunately comes with the downside of more waste being generated.

What extra measures need to be taken to ensure safe coronavirus waste disposal?

Not all hospitals and clinics have the required equipment or capacity to effectively treat such a large amount of potentially COVID-related waste. Until better and more sustainable disposal methods are acquired, controlled burning, burial, incineration can all be acceptable ways to avoid dangerous build up.

Storage and transportation are also critical parts of hazardous medical waste disposal. Infectious waste needs to be segregated and stored separately in appropriately marked containers. If the waste still isn’t sterile, prepping it for transportation will require even further attention, such as the final method and place of disposal.

Or you could use a much more practical and effective onsite treatment method…

What is Celitron’s solution for COVID waste disposal?

Celitron’s coronavirus waste disposal equipment combines two of the most modern methods used for treating infectious medical waste: autoclaving and shredding. This “2 in 1” R&D approach has given birth to a cutting-edge piece of technology known as the ISS (Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder).

The biggest advantages of the ISS are: 

1. Onsite steam sterilization and shredding of coronavirus waste
With the ISS, staff will be able to process infectious medical waste at the site of the facility, putting less strain on the storage and transportation phases of the waste. Celitron’s machine uses powerful blades to crush the load inside the machine, which allows the high-temperature steam to reach every single part of the materials that may pose a risk of infection. With temperatures well over a 100 degrees Celsius, even the disposal of heat-resistant bacteria becomes possible, so COVID related waste doesn’t stand a chance either.

2. Huge selection of treatable materials
Another great advantage is that the ISS isn’t limited to the sterilization of just a few types of materials, allowing hospitals and clinics to cover a wide range of potentially COVID related waste, and handle their disposal much more easily with a single vessel. Examples include syringes, scalpels, textiles, tests, plastic, glass, paper, organic materials, and even entire sharps containers!

3. Varying capacity
As we have mentioned before, capacity can be a key issue for many healthcare facilities. Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder can be acquired with a 25, 150, and even a 560 liter capacity allowing the smallest clinics and the biggest hospitals to choose the model that is best suited for their needs.

4. Reducing the volume of COVID waste for simpler disposal
The duration of the sterilization cycle within the ISS last between 15 and 35 minutes, and can process up to 150 kg of potentially infectious medical waste at a time. After the treatment is over, the waste coming out is completely sterile, dried, and can be disposed of just like regular waste without any risk. Not to mention the size of the waste will be reduced to about 20% of its original volume!

5. Eco- and cost-friendly operation
With low operating and maintenance costs the ISS is definitely an investment that will pay off in the long term compared to other coronavirus waste disposal solutions such as incineration, since that would also require the transportation of hazardous waste until it can be finally destroyed by the offsite incinerator.
Since Celitron’s ISS greatly reduces the volume of the waste it produces, the “end-products” take up much less space, they are already sterile, and all of this is done without emitting any harmful substances.

6. Easy and safe to use
The ISS is especially user-friendly and requires no special qualifications of any kinds to be used, but of course, safety measures still need to be respected. This is made easier by automatic safety features that prohibit users from opening the doors when the pressure and temperature inside the vessel is still too high.

All in all, the disposal of COVID-19 waste should be treated almost the same as any other type of hazardous medical waste: wearing proper equipment, taking care of storage, and using appropriate tools for sterilization to avoid the spread of the virus to patients, staff and the outside world. If you work in a healthcare facility that requires an efficient onsite solution with big enough loading capacities, you should definitely take a closer look at Celitron’s solution for COVID waste disposal

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