Attitudes are changing all of the time with regards to the way in which we deal with waste, especially when it comes from potentially dangerous sources. Now in the main most waste which is dealt with could be considered dangerous, as so much of what we throw away can produce dangerous chemicals as it decomposes. There is however a much more immediate threat from a lot of waste products, more specifically when we are discussing waste which comes from hospitals and medical facilities. Medical and pharmaceutical waste disposal is a category all on its own, and that is because of the clear dangers which are presented by this biohazards waste.
Here is exactly why this waste must be handled differently and why it is managed in a different way to all other waste products.
The Need For Different Treatment
The main reason as to why this kind of waste has to be managed differently is that there is a very high chance of infections being passed on through waste. This could happen because of actual human waste or even because of tools which have been used in the treatment of humans with certain illnesses or infections. It is of course critical that this waste is being treated in the right way, in order to reduce this very clear risk of potential infections.
How The Waste Is Treated
For the most part, medical and pharmaceutical waste is incinerated before it is sent to landfill, by which point of course it is nothing but ash. There are some instances whereby tools and metal or plastic objects are given a treatment which seeks to completely sterilize them, this is called autoclaving. This treatment sees the waste heavily soaked in a variety of chemicals in order to kill off more than 99% of all the bacteria which has deposited onto the items.
Storage and Collection
Medical waste has to be stored for a short term on site, prior to be it being collected by the authorities. The time which the waste must be stored is carefully managed and regular collections will ensure that no waste is stored beyond its recommended time. In terms of the management of the waste, there is a very strict approach to ensuring what waste goes where. In hospitals for example we see the use of color-coded bags, with different waste types being placed in each. This ensures easy management of waste on site and speeds up the processing of waste once it has been collected.
Another important point to make here is that the handling of this type of waste, more than any other, requires a great deal more by way of government rules and protocols. There are actually legal obligations in the handling of this waste which must be adhered to. There is of course good reason for the law stepping in like this, because the risks of a breakout of an infection or virus is simply too important to ignore.
This is why medial and pharmaceutical waste is handled in this way.