Infectious clinical waste disposal: how should medical facilities tackle this issue?
The correct disposal of potentially infectious clinical and medical waste is a crucial issue in the healthcare industry, and even more so in countries with high population and poor hygiene conditions. Every medical facility in the world such as hospitals and clinics generate waste that can put the environment and the health of people at risk by propagating infections from used up medical equipment and other sources that could lead to drastic consequences.
This is why every clinical facility is bound by law to have a waste management system in place, including safety equipment for staff, as well as guidelines for storing, segregating, and transporting waste. But how should the disposal of infectious clinical waste be handled?
Read on and find out more about the most prominent methods as well as Celitron’s own solution!
What are the most common methods for disposing of infectious clinical waste?
Land disposal can actually be an acceptable method for disposing of medical waste when there is no other option of treating it before its disposal can take place. No matter the method you choose to dispose of infectious clinical waste, the main goal is always to minimize the risk to the environment and human health: potentially hazardous waste accumulating at the site of medical facilities poses a much greater risk than transporting the waste to a landfill.
Compared to open dumps, sanitary landfills present a much lower risk of infections spreading and are much organized as well. They also focus on limiting soil and air pollution by isolating infectious clinical waste.
Chemical disinfection plays a large role in killing microorganisms left in the environment of medical facilities and can even be used to treat potentially infectious clinical waste before its disposal. It can be effective at treating liquid components like hospital sewage or blood, but can only treat the surface of solid clinical waste that is still intact. Its efficiency is also lacking compared to sterilization in the case of certain hazardous materials, and it cannot get rid of heat-resistant bacteria. Some chemicals can also pose a risk to human skin and lungs.
Inertization is a process where the risk of hazardous materials harming the soil or infecting water sources is mitigated by mixing infectious clinical waste mainly with cement before disposing of it as one big homogenous mass. It is not particularly expensive and does not require sophisticated technology to be done effectively, though is certainly not as fast and practical as more modern on-site methods of infectious clinical waste disposal.
At a high enough frequency, microwaves can destroy most foreign materials present on infectious clinical waste in about 20 minutes, although the materials will need to be shredded first. Despite growing popularity in developed countries, it has relatively high operating costs and carries a higher risk of maintenance issues compared to steam sterilization.
One of the most popular methods for infectious clinical and medical waste disposal, and still widely used today despite more modern alternatives available on the market. Still, despite being highly effective, it cannot completely destroy all cytotoxic drugs and thermally-resistant microorganisms, and the risks of air pollution can be significant.
Autoclaves use high-pressure and high-temperature steam that is well over 100 degrees Celsius, making them capable of killing even heat-resistant foreign materials. They can also be easily installed right at the site of medical facilities, and are fast and easy to use, making them one of the most popular modern solutions available in the healthcare industry. However, if they are not combined with a powerful enough shredder, they cannot treat materials that are less prone to steam penetration (like medical sharps),and cannot effectively sterilize chemical and anatomical waste.
Infectious clinical waste disposal with Celitron’s on-site medical waste shredder
Clinical waste disposal can be much easier, not to mention safer if a facility has the right equipment that can render infectious waste into a harmless, sterile state on-site. This is exactly what Celitron’s Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder (or ISS for short) is capable of.
So how is it so effective at disposing of infectious clinical waste?
- This high-tech machine combines the benefits of steam sterilization with powerful shredding blades, which enables the high-temperature and high-pressure steam to penetrate materials that otherwise could not be treated with an autoclave alone.
- This makes the ISS highly versatile in sterilizing and shredding all manners of infectious clinical and medical waste into a sterile state, making the disposal of these materials much more practical and safer by reducing the risks associated with storing and transporting hazardous waste.
- The complete process is automatic, and only takes about 15 to 35 minutes to complete depending on how much waste you load into this medical waste shredder. After the waste inside the ISS’s chamber is sterilized, shredded, and dried of all liquid components, its original volume will be reduced by about 80%, and it can be disposed of like regular trash.
- Thanks to an advanced energy-saving system, it does this without burdening the environment, and also without high operation costs.
Here are some examples for the types of infectious clinical and medical waste that can be disposed of with the ISS:
- Surgical tools
- Anatomical waste like blood, body fluids, and human tissue
- Chemical and pharmaceutical waste
- Cytotoxic drugs
- Syringes, sharps waste, biohazardous needle containers
- Textile products, glassware, paper, plastic
If you are searching for a safe and effective solution to handle infectious clinical waste disposal right at the site of your medical facility, Celitron can offer you a state-of-the-art solution in the form of its highly popular Integrated Sterilizer and Shredder, which is in complete accordance with EU and WHO recommendations. By combining the benefits of autoclaving with rendering, it is one of the most practical and sustainable way to sterilize hazardous materials. Do not hesitate to contact us, and we shall help you integrate this modern solution for infectious medical waste disposal into your current waste management system!