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Medical Waste Disposal

The Different Types Of Medical Waste And How To Handle Them

Waste is handled differently depending on the requirements of those who are disposing of the medical waste. Offices have shredders and recycling services that are set up for dealing with this issue. However, handling waste in a medical facility is a whole different story – whether it is a laboratory, dental office or a hospital that caters to hundreds of patients. This type of waste is fragile and needs to be handled very carefully to avoid any infections that may occur. Medical waste handling must follow the laws of segregation.

There are four main types of medical waste and they are each handled differently. We will take a look at these various categories below.

General Medical Waste.

This makes up the lion’s share of all the waste that is generated at medical facilities. It is not that different from office or household waste. It includes our day to day waste such as plastics, paper and liquids. It is not considered to be biologically, physically or chemically hazardous and can be disposed of without any problems. It does not require any special handling since it includes normal things that we use in our day to day operations and it is also not toxic.

Infectious Medical Waste.

As the name suggests, this is any type of waste that can cause infections to human beings, animals and the environment. It is mainly waste that is contaminated with blood and other bodily fluids. Medical gloves should be worn when handling any blood, or bodily fluids to also avoid contamination and prevent yourself from contracting dangerous diseases. It can include human or animal tissue, discarded surgical gloves used in surgery or handling blood or even pathological waste. It also involves swabs or stocks that are used in cultures.

All of these examples listed require different treatment methods to get rid of them. You cannot discard them in the same way as regular waste. They also have different rules for their storage, transport, licensing and processing. It is because they are very delicate and need to be handled with the utmost care. Some of the ways to treat these infectious wastes include, but are not limited to, autoclaving, steam treatment and also incineration. We can treat them chemically and also use microwaving. There should be no compromises since this type of waste is dangerous.

Hazardous Medical Waste.

This waste refers to any liquid or solid that is considered to be toxic, chemically reactive and also flammable. It is non-recyclable and it is dangerous, but it is not considered to be infectious to human beings. Sharps that have not been used belong to this category since they can harm the user and cause injuries. Examples of sharps are needles, syringes, scalpels and other glassware in the hospital.

They require some special handling and packaging since can create contamination. It includes both medical and industrial wastes. Chemotherapy agents are also considered to be hazardous. Paints, batteries and even pesticides and herbicides fall under this category of waste.

These batteries have heavy metals in them such as lead. This type of garbage should be stored in an area that is dedicated such as under a roof. It should have a sprinkler or fire suppression system since it is flammable. It should also not be stored in areas where people frequently visit. It should be kept away from human contact.

Radioactive Medical Waste.

Radioactive Waste

Any waste that contains radioactive materials is considered to be radioactive waste. They are by-products of nuclear power generation and the use of nuclear technology. Wondering where this comes from in hospitals? Worry not. Some of the examples are radioactive therapies for tests such as thallium stress and also other nuclear therapies used to treat some types of cancers we have today. These nuclear medicines use radiation and its technology to provide valuable information about the state of the patients’ organs that have been affected by cancer.

Any pathological waste that is contaminated with radioactive material is also classified as dangerous waste instead of its infectious counterpart. It also cannot be recycled since it is very toxic and hazardous to our health. Chemotherapeutic agents should be incinerated or chemically neutralised. They should not be treated in autoclaves as it is not appropriate. You should not misclassify and treat them incorrectly.

Medical waste should be collected only by a licensed person. It cannot be handled by inexperienced personnel since its disposal is monitored and regulated in most places. It should be rendered harmless and treated before any recycling. You require a good company that you can trust to do this and take care of your waste appropriately. In case you are lost for choice, you should check up, https://www.allmedicalwaste.com.au/. We are very professional and will give you advise on how to handle your waste and how the different kinds of medical waste are disposed of safely while conserving the environment. Any services regarding medical waste that you want any information about, we will give it to you. You will not be disappointed. Please contact us on 02 8783 0555

 

 

All Medical Waste

How To Efficiently Dispose Common Types Of Biomedical Waste

Biomedical waste is characterised by being waste that has been created through the production of pharmaceuticals, or the treatment and diagnosis of patients in hospitals and other medical services. Many professionals that work in the health sector will need to deal with this type of waste. Biomedical waste comes with many risks, such as that of infection, so it must be handled correctly according to procedures that have been implemented throughout the healthcare industry. This article will focus on the efficient and safe disposal of common types of biomedical waste.

The Importance of Safe Handling of Biomedical Waste

Before exploring the common types of biomedical waste, looking into the reasons behind why it is vital for professionals to treat this type of waste with the highest level of care should be understood. The waste that is generated from the healthcare industry, primarily through the treatment and diagnosis of patients in hospitals, is likely to be highly infectious and hazardous to the general public. Hence, unmanaged waste of this manner is a public health concern. Many governments and medical organisations have worked together to come up with strict policies and legislation that ensure that this type of waste is handled and disposed of safely and efficiently.

Professionals who are new to the handling of biomedical waste should immediately acquaint themselves with the protocols used for the various types of waste which will be discussed further in this article. Generally, it is imperative for individuals that foresee themselves coming into contact with biomedical waste to consult local waste management services which have expertise in biomedical waste. These waste management services often are able to assist those who don’t have much experience dealing with this type of waste. Many waste management services can provide an extensive service that will take care of all of the different kinds of medical waste that a particular professional may need to dispose of.

Radioactive Medical Waste

One common type of medical waste is radioactive medical waste. This type of waste is often created as a byproduct of diagnosis and treatments that require the use of radioactive medicine. There is a vast amount of different applications for radioactive medicine, which leads to a massive buildup with this type of waste in most medical facilities. Radioactive waste is mostly created in facilities which provide medical imagery. X-rays and other forms of diagnostic imaging are entirely dependent on the use of radioactive materials in order to be produced. The facilities which facilitate these imagery techniques will need strict procedures for the handling of radioactive materials as well as the disposal of the radioactive waste that is created.

Radioactive waste is also created through many different treatments, such as radiotherapy which is commonly used for many different cancers. In the same manner as medical imagery that uses radioactive materials, radioactive therapies also create a large amount of this type of waste. Any manager of a medical service which provides either medical imagery or radioactive treatments should organise for the safe disposal of the waste that is produced.

Infectious Medical Waste

Perhaps the most common type of medical waste witnessed in hospitals is infectious medical waste. Many times, through the treatment and diagnosis of the vast array of diseases and conditions that are seen in many major hospitals around the country, a multitude of infectious waste is created. Infectious waste is waste that has the potential of causing illness and disease to those that come into contact with it. As many people know, blood, mucus, and a range of other types of biological materials produced by the body have the potential to cause disease in others.

Treatments that involve bandages will often require the used bandages to be categorised as infectious waste and must be disposed of according to infectious waste protocols. Swabs and other diagnostic tests that involve such biological materials like blood must also be carefully disposed of according to protocols. Infectious waste must be handled properly to ensure public safety, even small medical facilities will most likely experience a buildup of infectious waste, thus they should arrange for safe disposal.

disposal of medical waste

Hazardous Medical Waste

In contrast to infectious waste, hazardous waste isn’t contagious. However, hazardous waste is still hazardous as it involves any waste that could cause injury or harm to those that either are exposed to or come into contact with it. Hazardous waste, much like infectious waste, is often a byproduct of diagnostic tests that are commonly used for various medical ailments. Furthermore, hazardous waste is usually produced through the treatments commonly enforced in hospitals.

The most common example of this kind of waste is syringes and needles. Syringes and needles are heavily used throughout all aspects of the healthcare sector, such as for blood tests and the administration of medicine. Also, used scalpels and other operative tools that have been used for surgery must also be disposed of through hazardous waste protocols.

If you are unsure about how to dispose of your medical waste, please get in touch with us at All Medical Waste on 02 8783 0555 and we will advise you on the best way forward.

 

 

Hazards of Disposing Medical Waste

Improper medical waste disposal is a common occurrence the world over. This is mostly because of ignorance, lack of waste management and disposal systems, insufficient human resources and low priority given to medical waste management.

Medical wastes do not necessarily come from hospital or clinics. They can be medical paraphernalia such as bandages and swabs from people without proper training on proper disposal procedures.

This lack of awareness on proper disposal is the number one reason they are not disposed properly. Worse, even some junior clinical officers have inadequate training on proper waste management.

And there are several countries that have no appropriate regulations on medical waste disposal or have them but simply do not enforce them. Problem is, this causes extremely serious hazards to people and animals.

Be on the look out for these common medical wastes:
– Syringes and needles washing up on shorelines.
-Infected blood tossed in a landfill seriously contaminating soil around the place.
-Careless or poor handling of pathogens which are inadvertently released fetting them into the air and drinking water sources.

These medical wastes can be classified as biological, chemical or radioactive. Regardless of the type, all poses a risk to health and the environment when disposed improperly.

They include laboratory waste, human tissue waste, and animal waste resulting from medical, biological and dental treatment and veterinary research. .

Improper medical waste management may comprise unsafe actions such as handling the wastes without personal protective equipment and use of uncovered containers instead of closed plastic bags for storage.

Here are the possible effects of poor medical waste disposal:

Air pollution

A lot of hospital waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms, which in turn enter enter and remain in the air in the form of spores or simply as pathogens themselves.

This often contains harmful chemicals such as acid, bleach or oil that should be disposed in approved, correctly labelled containers.

Pollution may also come from people burning such wastes as paper, plastics and other medical containers and materials.

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Such chemicals can build up in the ozone layer over time. Some garbage also release harmful gases such as methane, which significantly contribute to global warming.

Contamination of water channels

These are some of the ways medical waste may release pollutants and pathogens:

-Poorly constructed landfills contaminate drinking water through underground water channels. Thus, water facilities must be well designed, operated or maintained.

-Incineration of unsuitable materials or inadequate incineration which releases pollutants into the air. Incinerating materials that contain chlorine can generate furans and dioxins. These are human carcinogens and have been associated with bad health effects. Similarly, if materials contain heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium are incinerated, these toxic metals will be released into the air.

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Note that to deal with dioxins and furans, it’s important to use the modern incinerators fitted with special gas-cleaning equipment and operating at temperatures of 850 – 1100 °C.

There are also other medical waste disposal methods alternative to incineration. These include microwaving, autoclaving, steam treatment integrated with internal mixing and chemical treatment that essentially renders the pathogens harmless.

Spread of Communicable Diseases

Improper disposal of health-care waste exposes both clinicians and patients as well as the general public to the danger of contracting infectious diseases, especially those with little or no training on occupational and personal safety.

Over 16 billion injections are estimated to be administered every year. And since not all the needles and syringes used in these procedures are safely disposed, there’s a risk of injury and infection that comes with the opportunities for reuse.

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An injection with a contaminated needle and syringe causes the risk of HIV among other infections such as hepatitis B and C.

Other hazards occur to those who scavenge at waste disposal sites. Those who manually sort out hazardous waste from health-care facilities are also exposed to considerable risk of infection.

Yet such practices are really common in many parts of the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The waste handlers are at the immediate risk of exposure to infectious or toxic materials as well as needle-stick personal injuries.

Other possible infectious risks of improper medical waste disposal include the spread of drug-resistant microorganisms into the environment from respective health facilities. These can cause various diseases long after their release into the environment.

Increased attention and diligence

There’s need for increased attention and diligence in approaching the management and disposal of healthcare waste. This is the surest way to avoid the substantial disease burden associated with the poor approach already seen in the practice.

Here are some key elements that may help improve the practice of medical waste management:

-Enforcement of healthcare waste management laws,

-Long term solutions that include building comprehensive medical waste management systems, allocating resources that support proper medical waste management and disposal.

-Raising awareness of the healthcare waste related risks and providing guidelines on safe practices.

-Selecting and championing safe and environment-friendly management options which can protect people from hazards when collecting, handling, transporting, storing, treating or disposing;

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Overall, proper management of medical waste is a universal responsibility of clinicians, medical facilities and the general public alike.

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The support and commitment of governments are key to attainment of long-term and sustainable improvement in this regard. However, immediate responsible action that starts with YOU.