The waste accumulating at hospitals can be both dangerous and toxic. For example expired pills, syringes, and needles. Despite that, hospitals churn out huge amounts of infectious wastes every year. It’s a source of concern for environmental health, and there are waste management practices that can deal with these issues. While the rest of the world is aiming to increase their sustainable solutions, such as wind power, hospitals are behind on this front.
Here are efficient ways that hospital employees and administrators can tackle waste:
Disposal by Recycling
Non-infectious wastes like receipts, booklets, and containers for drugs are recyclable. A modern hospital can develop waste management plans to handle recyclable materials. This category of hospital waste is one of the easiest to handle. Usually, recycle companies reward medical facility personnel that follows their waste disposal rules. It’s a cheaper way of segregating and disposing of waste materials. In today’s world, there is no excuse to not care about the environment. You can consult your local geotechnical engineering company if you need advice.
Disposal by Incineration
As estimated by the World Health Organization, healthcare workers dispense at least 16 billion injections every year. Where do injection needles, syringes, pharmaceutical, and pathological waste go? An incinerator is a facility that burns waste through a process of complete combustion. Usually, infectious waste is separated from non-hazardous waste and collected with different types of containers. Human parts and supplies from operating theatre are surgical wastes that are often incinerated. It’s impossible for these surgical wastes to survive the heat of incinerators that can reach thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. However, it’s not all states that support the incineration of infectious surgical waste. So hospital administrators and employees should be careful not to violate the environmental protection laws that apply to their location.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
Solid wastes like radioactive materials, expired, and contaminated drugs can cause pollution to the environment. To prevent this safety risk, modern hospital administrators use effective waste management plans. MSW can be collected with garbage bins before they are disposed of properly. Usually, local garbage haulers and compactor trucks pick up and crush these hazardous wastes before dumping them in landfills.
Disposal by Autoclaving
Biomedical waste like scalpels and surgical tools can be sterilized and reused. Autoclaves are thermal treatment chambers that have covers. They use both pressure and heat and pressure to sterilize medical tools. Most modern hospitals that don’t reuse these tools ask their waste removal vendors to dispose-off non-infectious waste after sterilizing them.
Disposing Laboratory Wastes
Other infectious and pathological wastes like body parts that have been cut off by surgeons are handled properly. Otherwise, they can cause healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) to humans and animals. Also, laboratory cultures, swabs, and test tubes are not free from virulent pathogens. So, hospital employees and administrators can package these bio-hazardous wastes before sending them to a landfill.
The use of chemicals like acid to decontaminate solid wastes from the hospital is another option that modern hospitals use. Normally, non-liquid infectious wastes are compacted to reduce their density before chemical treatment is applied. Care must be taken when treating this waste because chemicals are often corrosive.
Food waste and leaves from gardens can be disposed of separately from other types of hospital waste. Modern hospitals have waste managers that use a composting system for garden flowers and food remains. Typically, the compost facility receives refuse from waste haulers. However, the hospital administrator can assign the facility maintenance supervisor to work with waste management operators.
RCRA Hazardous Waste
Usually, wastes disposed-off the morgue are containers and solvents that have been used to preserve biological tissue. This section of the hospital is where bodies are prepared for burial. So, you’ll find used bottles containing chemicals like Formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde. However, these chemical wastes from the autopsy unit are carcinogens and need to be handled like other RCRA hazardous waste.