Waste treatment in hospitals: a look at different options and how to choose between them
Waste management and treatment is an important issue regardless of industry, but even more so in areas where infectious and hazardous waste is generated, like hospitals and other medical facilities. In Celitron’s next article, we will look at different ways to treat waste in hospitals and the advantages of each method, so that you may make a more informed choice for your own facility!
Hospital waste treatment with chemical disinfection
Chemical disinfection mainly uses chlorine compounds to treat hospital waste and destroy microorganisms. Mainly used to treat liquid hospital waste if the waste in question is aqueous and not organic, since organic waste does not mix well with bleach. While it is one of the most appropriate method to treat liquid waste, it is not very cost-effective to use on hospital waste and equipment that will be sent to sanitary landfills: incinerators and autoclaves are a better choice in that case.
Hospital waste treatment with microwave radiation
Microwave radiation can be used as a heat source to treat hospital waste and wastewater sludge. These special units can be incorporated in a medical facility’s waste management system as an onsite installation, but certain mobile vehicles also come equipped with them, as part of the services of waste removal companies.
While effective thanks to high temperatures, this method only works when the hospital waste contains water as well, which is why humidifiers also need to be used. It is less costly than the operation of incinerators, but not as effective at destroying hazardous materials, and cannot be used to treat pathological waste. Sharps waste is also better treated with a medical waste shredder.
Hospital waste treatment with irradiation
Irradiation uses gamma rays to treat hospital waste and kill microorganisms, almost like treatments used for cancer. They can penetrate plastic bags, so the waste does not need to be removed to be treated.
Irradiation is effective, but often needs to be paired with a medical waste shredder to render hazardous hospital waste into an unrecognizable state, and requires its own dedicated place. Building such a facility can be quite costly, and no mobile treatment units use irradiation. Extra care must also be taken to protect staff from radiation.
Hospital waste treatment with vitrification
A less widely used method for treating waste in hospitals. Vitrification focuses on mixing the waste with glass production and encapsulating that waste in glass, which can then be moved away to a landfill.
Autoclaving VS incineration: which is the better option for waste treatment in hospitals?
Incineration and autoclaving are definitely among the most popular options when it comes to hospital waste treatment.
Incinerators are unquestionably adept at destroying waste and greatly reducing it in volume, which is why it remains a popular method for waste treatment in hospitals even with the appearance of other more modern methods. There are also onsite incinerators which make it even easier for hospitals to treat their waste before it is transported to a sanitary landfill. However, it should be noted that some states and countries limit the availability of incinerators based on the volume of waste they treat. This is mainly because of concerns about air pollution. They are also relatively costly to operate on a regular basis.
Autoclaves on the other hand, represent a much more cost-effect solution for long term waste treatment in hospitals, since they consume much less energy, emit zero harmful substances, and as such, do not burden the environment during the sterilization process. Not to mention they do not sacrifice effectiveness in the slightest: with temperatures ranging between 121 and 134 degrees Celsius, even heat-resistant foreign materials are obliterated, ensuring a reliable treatment of hospital waste. Automated, high-grade autoclaves are also more practical to operate.
Also, if hospital waste needs to be treated even further, some steam sterilizers also come equipped with shredding capabilities.
Waste treatment in hospitals with Celitron’s autoclaves: what are my options?
No matter their size and capacity, Celitron’s autoclaves represent a top-quality when it comes to waste treatment in hospitals.
All of our steam sterilizers are class B autoclaves, which are currently the most advanced type of autoclave available on the market. This is mainly thanks to their powerful vacuum pump which makes the steam sterilization process much more effective, as well as faster. Depending on the size of the load inside, you can expect them to handle the treatment of your hospital waste in about 20 minutes. They are also made from high-grade 316L stainless steel, which allows them to treat all kinds of hospital waste in the long term thanks to them being corrosion resistant.
Apart from their above-average capability at treating hospital waste, they are also exceptionally easy to use: the entire steam sterilization process is automated (including the closing and opening of the chamber’s door) and can be launched by pressing a few buttons. The process can then be easily followed thanks to the machine’s digital touch-screen LCD display.
Our autoclaves come in several different models and can be further customized to suit your needs. For larger facilities like hospitals that need all the help they can get for treating large volumes of waste onsite, our Azteca A series will probably be the most sensible choice for you: their capacity ranges between 110 to 880 liters.
However, our Azteca AC Medium autoclaves are also perfectly capable of handling waste treatment in hospitals and at the site of operating theaters if you need a more compact solution: their capacity ranges between 75 to 200 liters depending on the model chosen.
As you can see, there are many ways to handle the management and disposal of waste in a medical facility. No method is universally perfect, and each facility should focus first and foremost on reducing risks associated with infectious and hazardous waste. However, autoclaves have definitely made a notable impact in the healthcare industry thanks to their reliability, ease of use, and customizability. Make sure to take a closer look at Celitron’s autoclaves on our website if you need an effective solution for waste treatment in your hospital!