7 Types of Biomedical Waste Management

When we talk about the types of biomedical waste management, then we are talking about the different ways we can manage health/medical/biomedical waste.

Biomedical/health/medical activities produce highly hazardous waste, which can result in serious diseases that can be fatal; it is a big global problem. Biomedical waste is any solid or liquid waste containing dangerous components generated by healthcare facilities such as hospitals, offices, and health camps, it’s needful for hospitals to dispose of their waste properly.

Human tissues, contaminated blood, body fluids, abandoned pharmaceuticals, drugs, contaminated cotton, bandages, and sharps including needles, glass, blades, scalpels, and lancets are all part of this waste. The collection and disposal of biomedical waste pose the greatest danger to healthcare professionals, sanitation employees, and the general public.

A lack of proper disinfection of biological waste results in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), Hepatitis B and C, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), tetanus, psychosocial trauma, and other diseases. Biomedical waste management is critical for protecting the environment and people’s health.

According to the World Health Organization,

Generally, non-hazardous waste accounts for around 85 percent of total waste generated by healthcare activities. The remaining 15% is classified as hazardous waste, which could be infectious, poisonous, or radioactive.

An estimated 16 billion injections are given worldwide each year, yet not all needles and syringes are properly disposed of away afterward. In some cases, open burning and incineration of medical waste can result in the release of dioxins, furans, and particulate matter.

By taking steps to ensure the safe and environmentally responsible management of medical waste, patients, healthcare professionals, and the general public can be protected from harmful health and environmental effects, such as the unintentional release of chemical or biological hazards like drug-resistant microorganisms into the environment.

To reduce the major health repercussions, biomedical waste management is critical.

What is Biomedical Waste Management?

(Source: Biomedical waste management in the time of coronavirus – The Daily Guardian)

The processes for removing the waste’s negative effects are referred to as biomedical waste management. Biomedical waste management has a huge influence since biomedical waste can impair people’s health and have major consequences for those who come into contact with it. The successful management of biological waste in the workplace requires waste segregation, storage, and safe disposal.

The most common problems associated with healthcare waste are a lack of awareness about biomedical hazards, inadequate training in proper biomedical waste management, the absence of biomedical waste management and disposal systems, insufficient financial and human resources, and a low priority given to the topic. Many countries either do not have or do not implement appropriate regulations.

Having known what is biomedical waste management, let’s look at the importance of the types of biomedical waste management.

Importance of Biomedical Waste Management

(Source: Importance of Hospital Waste Management – Daniels Health)

We’ve all heard that improperly managed biomedical waste causes numerous health dangers, but we rarely see it managed properly. It can’t be overstated how appropriate biomedical waste management can help prevent problems like the ones listed below.

  • Defending against Direct Health Risks
  • Improve General Cleanliness and Ecosystem Sustainability
  • Landfills and Natural Resource Conservation
  • Reduction in the Occurrence of Fatal Diseases
  • Prevents Illegal Trading of Used Medical Tools
  • Low Reports of Injuries

1. Defending against Direct Health Risks

Defending against direct health risks is one of the importance of the types of biomedical waste management. Inadequate waste management in healthcare facilities poses a direct health risk to the general public, healthcare staff, and the environment. Biomedical waste management is required to reduce the danger of contamination for waste handlers, scavengers, and individuals living in the vicinity of hospitals outside of the hospital.

2. Improve General Cleanliness and Ecosystem Sustainability

Improvement of general cleanliness and ecosystem sustainability is one of the importance of the types of biomedical waste management. Scheduling biomedical waste management and reconditioning for all waste created in health care facilities is a critical duty that contributes significantly to global cleanliness, public health, resource preservation, and ecosystem sustainability.

3. Landfills and Natural Resource Conservation

Landfills and natural resource conservation is one of the importance of the types of biomedical waste management. Medical trash recycling conserves natural resources by reducing the amount of waste that must be discarded in landfills, and biomedical waste management reduces the amount of waste that must be thrown in landfills.

4. Reduction in the Occurrence of Fatal Diseases

Reduction in the occurrences of fatal diseases is one of the importance of the types of biomedical waste management. Infections and diseases spread by infectious medical equipment, such as HIV/AIDS, sepsis, and other disorders, can be prevented if hospitals and other healthcare institutions understand how to properly dispose of bio-waste.

As a result, biomedical waste management reduces the threats and risks that hospitals pose to the communities. Accurate biomedical waste management reduces the incidence of HIV/AIDS, sepsis, hepatitis, and other infections spread by infectious medical equipment.

For a nontoxic and healthy future, awareness of the dangers of biomedical waste and its disposal is required. To sustain such practices in organizations such as hospitals, testing centers, laboratories, and even clinics for humans and animals, proper training in hospital waste management is required.

5. Prevents Illegal Trading of Used Medical Tools

Prevention of illegal trading of used medical tools is one of the importance of the types of biomedical waste management. Biomedical waste management is critical for removing unused medications that can be repackaged and exchanged. The unlawful selling of used medical equipment and gadgets is one of the worrying concerns that is being addressed by appropriately treating hospital waste. This example is well-known, as the use of discarded syringes is a typical occurrence.

Proper management strategies can help prevent the illegal selling of used syringes, injection needles, and medical instruments. The health concerns associated with the use of syringes and needles are the primary drivers of disease transmission. Used syringes and needles are infected with an unknown material, which might lead to the transmission of various diseases if they are reused.

6. Low Reports of Injuries

Low reports of injuries are one of the importance of the types of biomedical waste management. It is quite likely that when healthcare companies adopt and practice good health waste management, there would be fewer injury reports of health workers suffering injuries at work. Every year, 300,000 needlestick and other sharps-related injuries occur among healthcare workers in the United States alone. This is alarming because needlestick injuries can lead to a variety of health problems. However, with proper trash processing and management, this is addressed, and reports are gradually reduced.

7 Types of Biomedical Waste Management

There are a variety of treatment solutions available to ensure the safety of biological waste management and disposal. Healthcare waste can be disposed of in a variety of ways. Another waste requires a unique disposal treatment because its by-products have negative consequences, therefore it depends on its classification.

Burning radioactive materials is a wonderful example of this. Burning radioactive materials is not a good disposal method since the by-products can pose health concerns, such as inhaling the smoke from a radioactive material that has been burned. When biomedical waste is appropriately managed, environmental risks are reduced. The most common ways for managing and cleaning biological waste are listed below.

  • Incineration
  • Autoclaving
  • Treatment with Chemicals
  • Irradiation
  • Microwave
  • Vitrification
  • Landfilling

1. Incineration

(Source: Discover the Importance of Medical Waste Incineration – Stericycle)

Incineration is one of the types of biomedical waste management. It’s a method of converting pathological and pharmaceutical waste into ash, flue gases, and heat. The temperature at which incineration should take place should be between 800 and 1400 degrees Celsius.

It reduces the bulk of waste by 90-95 percent, resulting in fewer negative effects on the environment. During this operation, hospitals used a specialized incinerator known as hospital/medical/infectious waste incinerators (HMIWIs). HMIWIs are used to burn medical waste slowly and carefully.

2. Autoclaving

(Source: Medical Waste Disposal, Now and in the Future – Veolia North America)

Autoclaving is one of the types of biomedical waste management. It is a steam sterilization procedure that is the most prevalent alternative to cremation. For 20-30 minutes, autoclaving requires a temperature of 121 degrees Celsius and a pressure of around 15 pounds per square inch (psi). This activity is taken to inactivate contagious agents, sterilize the equipment used in healthcare services, and dispose of and destroy microorganisms effectively.

It is less costly and has no known negative health effects. While certain biomedical waste cannot be autoclaved, approximately 90% of items are cleaned in this manner before being transported to a landfill.

3. Treatment with Chemicals

(Source: Biomedical Waste Management – SMS Envoclean)

Treatment with chemicals is one of the types of biomedical waste management. This treatment is commonly used to disinfect liquid waste before it is disposed of locally. To convert waste into less harmful compounds, it employs a variety of processes such as oxidation, reduction, precipitation, and pH neutralization.

Depending on the type of the waste, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, or calcium oxide can be employed. Chemicals are employed to kill hazardous germs after they have been exposed. To guarantee maximal disinfection, it is advised that solid biological waste be ground first. After being decontaminated, liquid waste is disposed of in the sewer system.

4. Irradiation

(Source: Medical Waste Management Equipment Market 2018-2022)

These technologies, which include gamma, electron-beam, ultraviolet, and X-rays, are currently being used in waste treatment procedures. Irradiation sterilizes trash in a closed room by exposing it to a radioactive cobalt-60 source that emits gamma rays that kill microorganisms.

Irradiation disinfects garbage by exposing it to bacteria-killing gamma rays. Infectious microorganisms identified in water waste respond best to this treatment. It is quite expensive when compared to other ways, and precautions must be made to protect workers from harmful radiation consequences such as cancer, radiation sickness, and even death making it one of the types of biomedical waste management.

5. Microwave

(Source: Microwave Technology: An Emerging Tool for Biohazard Waste Treatment – My waste solution)

Another way to deal with the garbage that contains water is to use a water-based treatment. Microwave therapy treats liquid medical waste directly. Waste is shredded, mixed with water, and then heated internally to kill bacteria and other dangerous materials throughout this process.

The shredding component of this technique is one of the key advantages; it reduces the volume of biological waste and is allegedly more energy-efficient than incineration. It can’t be utilized for all biomedical wastes, but it can be used for a lot of them making it one of the types of biomedical waste management.

6. Vitrification

(Source: Vitrificationwaste of WasteWaste and Reuse of -Derived Glass-derived glass – SpringerLink)

The procedure for converting a substance into a glass. Pathogens and flammable material can be disposed of as off-gas or vitrified garbage in landfills making it one of the types of biomedical waste management.

7. Landfilling

(Source: Medical Waste Management in Developing Countries – BioEnergy Consult)

Landfilling is one of the types of biomedical waste management. Land disposal is commonly used to remediate waste that has been decontaminated using acceptable treatment methods. This practice, which includes the disposal of waste in a landfill, is commonly utilized in underdeveloped countries.

Landfilling should be done in areas with low groundwater levels and far away from flooding sources. Radioactive waste is frequently deposited in the oceans, far from human settlements. For the disposal of sanitized waste, each state and municipal government has its own set of norms and regulations.

Conclusion

The importance of types of biomedical waste management should be well-trained, well-informed, and well-understood by hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Improper hospital waste management can result in a variety of serious diseases and fatal injuries, which can only be avoided if the personnel is aware of the right disposal technique.

It all starts with their realizing the need for effective biowaste management. To avoid negative health outcomes associated with poor practice, such as exposure to infectious agents and harmful substances, healthcare waste management demands increasing attention and dedication.

  • Encouraging methods that limit the volume of trash created and ensure proper waste segregation are key aspects of optimizing healthcare waste management.
  • Wherever possible, preferring safe and environmentally sound treatment of hazardous health care wastes (e.g., autoclaving, microwaving, steam treatment integrated with internal mixing, and chemical treatment) over medical waste incineration (with strong oversight and regulation)
  • Raising awareness of the risks associated with healthcare waste and of safe practices; and
  • Choosing safe and environmentally friendly management options to protect people from hazards when collecting, handling, storing, transporting, treating, or disposing of waste are all long-term processes that will be sustained by gradual improvements.

Although quick action can be performed locally, government commitment and support are required for universal, long-term progress.

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A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo to educate the public on the environment and her concerns.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

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