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What Are the Different Methods of Hospital Waste Disposal?

Some large hospitals have entire staff teams tasked with managing the collection and destruction of medical waste.
Sharp materials must be disposed of, especially if they carry bodily fluids.
Hospitals are sources of infectious waste that must be properly discarded.
Article Details
  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The different methods of hospital waste disposal are determined by the type of hospital waste under consideration. By its very nature, the hospital is a source of a wide variety of waste, ranging from the biodegradable to things sharp and toxic material. As such, the waste from hospitals is usually grouped according to the type and includes infectious materials as well as those that are not considered infectious, but are still dangerous. A waste management system is assumed to have been established in such a manner that the waste generated in the hospital will be separated at the point of generation into the appropriate waste receptacle for onward disposal in the appropriate manner.

Different countries have strict regulations regarding hospital waste disposal, starting from the provision of color-coded bins for various types of waste and the exact rules of how such waste should be handled. For example, sharp objects like surgical blades and needles must be placed in a separate bin from other types of waste. The waste that is considered to be infectious is usually placed in its own specified receptacles with exact specifications regarding how to handle such material. Rules regarding the exact methods of hospital waste disposal usually apply to items like any matter from the human anatomy that may have been generated from surgical operations or other procedures that lead to the excision of body parts from those who may have some form of infectious disease.

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Other categories of materials in the hospital waste disposal process include drugs that may have passed their expiration dates or drugs that may have been contaminated with other substances, making them unusable. After the waste has been separated into their various categories during the hospital waste disposal process, it will be collected according to categories and will be disposed of accordingly. For example, the infectious waste might be incinerated, while the sharp objects may also be incinerated or first treated with specific chemicals before any other method is applied as part of the hospital waste disposal process. Other items are also generated from hospitals that do not fall into any of the categories enumerated above. For example, hospitals also generate usual household waste in the form of food scrapings as well as objects like paper and plastic that may be disposed of in the usual manner for household waste.

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