How to reduce medical waste in the healthcare industry: What methods should hospitals consider?


Knowing how to reduce healthcare waste is key for medical staff and hospital management. Apart from minimizing your ecological footprint, ensuring a safe working environment, and meeting environmental guidelines, it’s also a great way to reduce your operations costs in the long run.

Hospitals generate a significant amount of waste, such as sharps and other blood-contaminated, disposable medical items.

In Celitron’s next article, we’ll explore different methods that can help reduce hospital waste, including our own patented, high-tech onsite solution!

1. How to reduce hospital waste by segregating it at its source

Encouraging hospital staff to segregate waste at its source is an essential step in waste reduction. Properly labeled bins for different waste categories, such as general waste, hazardous waste, and recyclables, can minimize cross-contamination and streamline waste management processes. By separating waste at the point of generation, hospitals can increase the effectiveness of recycling efforts and ensure that only waste requiring specialized treatment is subjected to disposal procedures.

  • Minimized contamination: Properly segregated waste is less likely to be contaminated by other types of waste, making recycling and disposal processes more effective.
  • Efficient recycling: Segregated recyclable materials like plastics, paper, and glass can be sent to recycling facilities directly, minimizing the need for additional sorting.
  • Optimized treatment: Different categories of waste require specific treatment methods. Segregation ensures that each type of waste receives the appropriate treatment, reducing the overall environmental impact.

2. How to reduce medical waste in hospitals through procurement

Hospitals can proactively reduce medical waste by adopting sustainable procurement practices. This involves selecting products with minimal packaging, opting for reusable or durable items, and choosing products with longer shelf lives. By making thoughtful choices during the procurement process, hospitals can significantly cut down on the volume of waste generated, while also potentially saving on costs over time.

3. How to reduce healthcare waste by implementing effective inventory management

Expired medical supplies contribute to unnecessary waste. Hospitals can prevent this by implementing robust inventory management systems that track the expiration dates of items and facilitate their efficient usage. Proper stock rotation can help ensure that items are used before they expire, reducing healthcare waste and lowering the financial burden associated with disposal.

  • First-In, First-Out (FIFO): Using the oldest supplies first prevents items from expiring and going to waste.
  • Regular audits: Conducting routine inventory audits helps identify items that are close to expiration, allowing for timely usage or appropriate disposal.
  • Reduced excess ordering: Accurate inventory management reduces the likelihood of over-ordering supplies, which can lead to waste when items expire before use.

4. How to reduce medical waste with healthcare staff training and education

Comprehensive training and education programs for healthcare staff are essential to the success of medical waste reduction initiatives. When staff members are well-informed about proper waste segregation, handling, and disposal practices, they are more likely to adhere to protocols, leading to reduced cross-contamination and improved waste management outcomes.

5. How to reduce hospital waste with reusable medical equipment and devices

Promoting the use of reusable medical equipment and devices can substantially reduce the volume of single-use items that end up as waste in hospitals. While certain medical items must be disposable due to infection control considerations, many others can be safely sterilized with autoclaves (AKA steam sterilizer machines) and reused.

  • Environmental impact: Reusable items generate less waste compared to single-use items, reducing the overall ecological footprint.
  • Cost savings: While reusable items might have a higher upfront cost, the long-term savings from reduced purchasing of disposable items and waste disposal can be substantial.
  • Infection control: Many reusable items can be effectively sterilized, ensuring patient safety and infection control.

6. How to reduce medical waste through shredding

Medical waste shredding involves the mechanical reduction of healthcare waste materials into smaller fragments. This process not only renders items unrecognizable but also significantly reduces their volume. Shredding medical waste, such as used syringes, gloves, and other disposable items, can enhance waste compaction and reduce the need for excessive landfill space.

Moreover, shredded medical waste can be sterilized more efficiently before disposal, minimizing the risk of contamination.

Implementing proper medical waste shredding practices can contribute to both waste volume reduction and enhanced safety.

How to reduce medical waste in hospitals with Celitron’s onsite healthcare solution

Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder (ISS) offers an excellent solution for all healthcare facilities that want to know how to reduce medical waste in hospitals onsite. This piece of equipment can be easily installed and incorporated into your waste management system and combines the benefits of both high-grade vacuum autoclaves as well as shredding, to provide even more efficient sterilization.

So how does it work?

This is how our medical waste shredder helps reduce hospital waste

The ISS uses its powerful blades within a durable stainless-steel vessel to reduce the volume of hospital waste by 80%. It will be dry, compact, sterile – and can be disposed of like regular municipal waste.

  1. The whole process is completely automatic. Once you load the waste that you need to treat inside the Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder’s chamber, you need only push a few buttons, and the door of the chamber will close automatically.
  2. Thanks to an internal steam generator, clean steam will be introduced inside the ISS’s chamber. The air is removed almost immediately from inside through a powerful vacuum pump – this is not only faster compared to gravity displacement but also ensures more reliable sterilization by removing air as an obstacle.
  3. The closed vessel system ensures there is no risk of harmful emissions or foul odors. Furthermore, a water purification and draining system ensures that there is no risk of contaminated wastewater while the ISS drains the liquid components of the waste. This is how you can reduce hospital waste sustainably!

Other benefits of Celitron’s healthcare waste reduction solution

  • Suitable version for every facility: Celitron’s ISS is available with a 25, 150, and 560-liter capacity chamber to help you reduce healthcare waste in large hospitals or small clinics.
  • Cost-effective hospital waste reduction: Advanced water and energy-saving systems help you reduce the operational costs of hospital waste disposal.
  • Reduce the costs associated with healthcare waste disposal: Since you can reduce the volume of your waste and sterilize it onsite, this results in less frequent transportation.
  • Extra safety features. Once the door of the chamber is automatically closed, it won’t open again until pressure and temperature levels are still too high inside the ISS.

Learn how to reduce hospital waste safely and easily with Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder! CONTACT US and get a free quote for your own custom onsite healthcare solution!

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