Non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies – Making medical waste disposal more sustainable


Non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies have gained a lot of popularity in the past years. As medical waste disposal technology evolves, the burden on the environment can be decreased by using methods that do not present a risk of air pollution.

The point of Celitron’s new article isn’t just to advocate for more sustainable medical waste disposal technologies – it is to show all concerned parties that more modern alternatives represent a win-win scenario both for the environment and medical facilities like hospitals, and operating theaters, clinics, and dialysis centers.

Read on to find out more about the benefits of treating medical waste with autoclaves/steam sterilizers!

Non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies – How are they different? How do they work?

One of the most popular non-incineration medical waste technology is autoclaving, also known as steam sterilization.

The COVID pandemic has especially brought to light the importance of appropriate waste management practices, largely because of the growing number of surgical masks used every day and the injections needed to administer the vaccines. Incineration is still one of the most widely used medical waste disposal technologies, and while it is certainly effective, the World Health Organization recommends prioritizing non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies wherever they can be implemented, to avoid the release of harmful emissions.

  • In the case of autoclaves, this is done through a process known as steam sterilization. By combining high-pressure and high-temperature steam with an environment devoid of air, autoclaves can destroy all manners of foreign materials present in medical waste and equipment. Thanks to their ability to raise the boiling point of water/steam over 100 degrees Celsius (usually between 121 and 134 degrees Celsius) they can even kill heat-resistant bacteria. They may differ in size and type but can be easily installed as an on-site solution.
  • Incinerators burn medical waste at extremely high temperatures (usually ranging between 850 to 1100 degrees Celsius). While there are also on-site incinerators available on the market, they require much more space and preparation to be installed near the site of medical facilities. As such, a lot of facilities make use of the services of licensed medical waste disposal companies to transport the waste away to off-site incinerators.

Different types of incineration and non-incineration medical waste disposal technologies – Ranking them based on the guidelines of international conventions

According to the Stockholm and Basel Convention guidelines, all medical waste disposal technologies that minimize the release of harmful emissions and chemicals should be given priority over other methods. According to this, they identify 3 different priority categories that identify different types of incineration and non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies.

1. Preferred medical waste disposal technology – Methods all facilities should strive to implement

  • Pre-vacuum autoclaves – These are the most advanced types of steam sterilizers, all of Celitron’s autoclaves fall under this category. They are faster, can sterilize more types of materials, and operate fully automatically.
  • Autoclaves with an integrated medical waste shredder – Celitron’s ISS
  • Microwave irradiation
  • Frictional heat treatments
  • Incinerators with flue gas treatment – The lesser risk of air pollution that meets the standards of international conventions.

2. Interim methods – Medical waste treatment technology is used until international standards can be met

  • Gravity displacement autoclaves – Slower models, with less versatility. Mostly used for sterilizing flat medical tools.
  • Single and dual chamber incinerators – Reduces all manners of medical waste to an unrecognizable state but poses a much higher environmental risk as it can release a wide variety of pollutants compared to models equipped with flue gas treatment. This is even more prominent in single-chamber models, where certain pathogens present might even survive the waste – as opposed to steam sterilization where all heat-resistant bacteria are killed.

3. Last resort – Medical waste disposal methods, when there is nothing else available, or the facility, can’t treat a surplus of waste

  • Open burning
  • Burning medical waste in a pit

If the safety of patients and staff are at risk, disposing of hazardous waste through less acceptable methods takes priority to avoid the accumulation of waste at the facility.

What are the benefits of the non-incineration medical waste disposal technology of autoclaves?

Apart from the environmental aspect, there are other notable benefits to using non-incineration medical waste disposal technologies like Celitron’s pre-vacuum autoclaves.

  • For one thing, more environmentally friendly incinerators equipped with flue gas treatment are much more expensive, and much more difficult to implement into the waste management system of facilities. In low and middle-income countries, their implementation is much less realistic due to the high capital and operational costs. According to a report by the WHO pre-vacuum autoclaves are one of the best options cost-wise, even compared to other non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies.
  • They can also be installed much more easily since they need a much smaller setup area. Not to mention they are also much easier to use, thanks to a completely automated operation.
  • With a more cost-effective and readily available non-incineration medical waste disposal technology, hospitals and clinics can already easily treat their waste on-site and eliminate the risk of infection while storing and transporting that waste, since it will already be sterile.

Non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies from Celitron – Why do we recommend our medical waste disposal technology?

Celitron specializes in providing non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies to facilities of all sizes, including hospitals, operating theaters, dialysis centers, and veterinary and dental clinics. Our pre-vacuum autoclaves are made of corrosion-resistant 316L stainless steel to ensure a long-term operation and are equipped with energy-saving systems to reduce the burden on the environment and help you save on operational costs. They require no technical qualifications to be used, operate automatically, and are equipped with extra safety features.

To sum up, non-incineration medical waste treatment technologies come with many benefits. Apart from reducing the burden on the environment, green medical waste disposal technology requires much lower installation and operational costs and is much easier to incorporate into the on-site waste management system of medical facilities.

If you have any questions about Celitron’s non-incineration medical waste disposal technology and which autoclave is most suited for your facility, do not hesitate to CONTACT OUR TEAM!

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