Autoclaving, also known as steam sterilization, is the most common alternative to incineration. This method is less costly and has no documented health impacts. In autoclaving, wastes are sterilized before disposal in a landfill.
FREMONT, CA: Businesses that generate medical waste need to focus on managing and disposing of the waste. It is the most important step. A variety of methods are available, and new methods are also emerging to treat Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) and make it less hazardous, each with its own set of liabilities and advantages.
Let us look at some regulated medical waste treatment methods:
Autoclaving, also known as steam sterilization, is the most common alternative to incineration. This method is less costly and has no documented health impacts. In autoclaving, wastes are sterilized before disposal in a landfill. Bags of waste are put in a chamber, and steam is emitted for a determined period of time at a specified pressure and temperature to ensure the destruction of microorganisms. Approximately 90 percent of regulated medical wastes are suitable for autoclaving, especially microbiological wastes. However, autoclaves are not suitable for cytotoxic, pathological, or other toxic chemical wastes.
In this method, wastes are heated to temperatures at which infectious agents are killed. Thermal inactivation is most appropriate for treating large volumes of liquid clinical wastes. The process involves preheating chamber to a specified temperature and held for a specified time, then released. Before adopting a medical waste disposal strategy, businesses need to know the applicable regulatory requirements. They need to evaluate capabilities, costs as well as associated health and environmental risks.
In this disposal method, chemical agents, such as chlorine, are used to disinfect wastes.
Chemical disinfection processes are suitable for liquid waste, even though they can still be used for treating solid wastes. There are a number of factors that should be considered to ensure its effective usage, such as the degree of contamination, types, and biology of microorganisms in the wastes, type of disinfectant used, and its concentration, quantity, mixing requirements, and contact time.
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