A Promise of Healthy Living

Healthcare Waste Management – Risks & Mitigations

The waste produced in the process of healthcare activities contains a higher number of potential infections and injuries than any other type of waste. The term healthcare waste includes all types of waste being produced within healthcare facilities (HCFs) including wards, emergencies, operation theaters, laboratories, and research centers, etc. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 75% and 90% of the waste produced by HCFs is comparable to domestic waste and is usually called “non-hazardous” or “general healthcare waste”. It comes mostly from the administrative, kitchen, and housekeeping functions at HCFs and may also include packaging waste and waste generated during the maintenance of healthcare buildings. However, WHO defines the remaining 10–25% of healthcare waste as “hazardous” and may pose a variety of health & environmental risks.

Healthcare waste can be categorized but is not limited to the following categories:

  • Non-hazardous or general healthcare waste: Waste that does not pose any particular biological, chemical, radioactive, or physical hazard
  • Sharps waste: Used or unused sharps (e.g., hypodermic, intravenous, or other needles; auto-disable syringes; syringes with attached needles; infusion sets; scalpels; pipettes; knives; blades; broken glass)
  • Infectious waste: Waste suspected to contain pathogens and that poses a risk of disease transmission (e.g., waste contaminated with blood and other body fluids; laboratory cultures and microbiological stocks; waste including excreta and other materials that have been in contact with patients infected with highly infectious diseases in isolation wards)
  • Highly infectious waste: (sub-group of infectious waste) Highly infectious waste includes all viable biological and pathological agents artificially cultivated in cultures or stocks such as cultures from laboratories. It also includes items used for the transfer, inoculation, and mixing of cultures of infectious agents, and waste contaminated with highly infectious and pathogenic agents. The place of origin of highly infectious waste is normally the laboratory but may also arrive from other places like quarantine wards.
  • Pathological waste: Human tissues, organs, or fluids; body parts; fetuses; unused blood products pharmaceutical waste including genotoxic waste: cytotoxic waste Pharmaceuticals that are expired or no longer needed; items contaminated by or containing pharmaceuticals Cytotoxic waste containing substances with genotoxic properties (e.g. waste containing cytostatic drugs – often used in cancer therapy; genotoxic chemicals). In specialized oncological hospitals, genotoxic waste (containing cytostatic or radioactive substances) may constitute as much as 1% of the total healthcare wastes
  • Chemical waste: Waste containing chemical substances (e.g. laboratory reagents; film developer; disinfectants that are expired or no longer needed; solvents; waste with high content of heavy metals, e.g. batteries; broken thermometers and blood-pressure gauges)
  • Radioactive waste: Waste containing radioactive substances (e.g. unused liquids from radiotherapy or laboratory research; contaminated glassware, packages, or absorbent paper; urine and excreta from patients treated or tested with unsealed radionuclides; sealed sources)

Wherever waste is generated, safe and reliable methods for its handling are therefore essential. Every country has its own hospital waste management policy which is implemented at healthcare facilities. Ultimately, the objective of waste management is to minimize the risks and threats for individuals and the public as well as technical feasibility, environmental implications, and economic aspects including externalities.

Appropriate handling, treatment, and disposal of waste by type reduces costs and does much to protect public health. The key to minimization and effective management of healthcare waste is segregation (separation) and identification of the waste. As 10-25% of the healthcare waste is infectious and can be hazardous from source to disposal. This stage in waste management is primarily important as from this stage onwards waste is being stored and disposed of according to the information from this step. Moreover, from this stage onwards infectious waste can cause infections to handlers, producers, and other people directly or indirectly. Poor handling of hospital waste can put healthcare workers, sanitation workers, patients, and the public at risk of contracting contagious diseases and infections. It enhances the chances of cross-contamination in the process of waste collection, handling, storage, transportation, and disposal. Therefore, it’s very important to use proper and effective waste collection tools to reduce the chance of infection spread. Bags and Containers for the collection of healthcare waste including sharps are crucial components of waste management, from collection to disposal.

Keeping in view the need of improving waste management by reducing the chance of infection spread Health & Hygiene has developed Protector® Antiviral & Antimicrobial Hospital Waste bags, containers & bins specialized for different waste categories to help manage medical waste properly with a prime advantage of controlling infection spread.

Protector® Waste Bags, containers & bins with built-in Antiviral & Antimicrobial properties provide protection against:

√Viruses   √Bacteria   √Fungi   √Algae  √Mould   √Mildew   √Yeast,

It kills microorganisms in contact with bags and bins, reducing the risk of transmission of microbes and the spread of infections from waste collection to waste disposal. Protector® Waste bags have proven 99.99% tested antimicrobial efficacy in accordance with ISO 22196 and ASTM E 2180. Also, 99.99% effective against viruses including Coronavirus.

Protector® Waste Bags & Bins:

  • Provide protection against the viral and microbial spread
  • Reduce the chance of infections spread
  • Ensure the safety of handlers at all stages
  • Ensure safe waste management practices

Protector® Antimicrobial Waste Bags are available in the following categories:

  • Highly infectious Waste Bags – Autoclavable
  • Infectious waste bags
  • Non-risk waste bags
  • Bin liners

Protector® Bags & Bins help in implementing effective waste management policies by reducing the chance of microbial spread.