The medical wastes are growing at the rate of 4.8% annually. In 2017, US spent around $2.5 billion to dispose medical wastes. This shows that medical waste disposal is highly important.

Around 20% of the hospital wastes are bio - hazardous wastes. This accounts to 1 million kilograms of waste annually. This signifies the need for treating such medical waste before disposing to protect the environment.

Here is a guide on the solution and how to treat bio – hazardous medical wastes before disposal. 



Incineration

 
It is a high temperature thermal process. It involves combustion of live inert cells. It converts the waste into ash, heat and gas. The following are the different types of incinerators

· Multiple Hearth Type – It is a furnace that converts the medical waste into ash. The furnace is circular and is made of steel with a rotating shaft 

· Rotary Kin – It is furnace in the shape of a drum


Controlled Air

· It is used for organic waste.
· There are 2 chambers in the process. One chamber is used for combustion and oxidation. The other chamber is used to mix the output of the first chamber with carbon dioxide and water vapour.

The following are the non – incineration techniques used 



Autoclaving Systems

· Autoclaving system is used for microbiology laboratory waste, human body waste and sharps.
· It uses high temperature steam. The steam decontaminates the waste. Decontamination is cleaning an object, removing its contaminants like virus, bacteria, dead cells, etc. They are killed or burnt into ashes.
· Around 2,400 medical waste autoclaving systems are functioning across the United States.
· 90% of the bio – hazardous wastes is disposed using autoclaving system. 



Irradiation

· The wastes that cannot be decontaminated with autoclaving systems are treated using irradiation systems
· The system uses high frequency microwave. The large amount of heat energy from the microwave kills the bacteria and other contaminating objects 



Chemical Decontamination

· It is a medical waste disposal process used to treat the waste from the laboratory like blood and urine sample, body fluids.
· It also includes the acids and other chemicals used in the process of testing. The wastes are chemically treated before disposing
· After treating medical wastes chemically, they are deposited in a landfill. By this they do not pose any threat to the living beings as they are vibrant enough to spread infections. 



Biological Process

· The method uses enzymes to decontaminate the organic matter.
· This method is still under research.
· Such biological wastes are currently isolated and are refrigerated. They are also monitored and observed frequently. 



Encapsulation

After treating the sharp objects, they should be properly disposed. Encapsulation is the process to dispose the sharp objects like syringes, scalpel, etc. They are closed and sealed in a capsule and are deposited in designated land fill away from living organisms.

These methods are strictly followed to ensure that the infections do not spread to other patients, staff or public.

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