If you’ve ever been to a hospital, you may notice how often health care practitioners throw things away. There’s all of those rubber gloves, disposable smocks, one-use-needles, paper towels, and other things that just get tossed. If you’ve ever stayed for 24 hours, you’ll notice that they probably filled and emptied your room’s trashcan three or four times.
Such observations beg the question, just how much hospital wastes are produced?
To put it bluntly, a lot. According to the latest figures, health care centers produce about 2 million tons of hospital wastes every year, or 5,500 tons of wastes generated daily.
On the bright side, the vast majority of these hospital wastes are just a general sort of waste. According to the World Health Organization, about 80% of the hospital wastes produced by health care activities are general wastes. The remaining 20% of these hospital wastes are considered to be biohazard waste.
These non-general hospital wastes — that dangerous 20% — are further broken into three categories. These are infectious wastes, hazardous wastes, and radioactive wastes. Of these three hospital waste sub-categories, infectious and anatomical wastes — like surgical waste or bloody bandages — make up the majority. Up to 15% of these hazardous wastes are infectious or anatomical wastes.
Though 80% of hospital wastes can be treated like normal garbage, the remaining one-fifth left — 400,000 yearly tons — must be handled carefully. If incorrectly disposed of, health care workers, patients, waste disposal professionals, and even the general public could be exposed to infectious diseases.
In order to properly get rid of it all, hospitals rely on infectious medical waste removal solutions providers. These services will take away the dangerous, infectious wastes and dispose of them in one of many different ways that’s safe for everyone. The most common way these companies dispose of hazardous wastes is incineration. In fact, about 90% of medical waste gets incinerated.
It should come as no surprise that hospitals generate so much waste, but it’s fair to be a little bit shell shocked by justhow much waste that really is. If you were blown away by this amount, or were conversely underwhelmed, share your opinion in the comments.