Each year, hospitals produce two million tons of surgical waste, which contains harmful microorganisms that could infect patients, staff, and the general public. This means that it’s up to medical waste disposal solutions providers to keep everyone in and out of medical facilities safe.
As most things are, that’s easier said than done. The proper disposal of surgical waste is not only tricky because of the sheer volume produced each year, but also because of the different types of medical wastes that are out there. To help give you a better idea of just how tricky the surgical waste disposal industry can be, here are the four most common categories of medical wastes.
According to the World Health Organization, infectious wastes are any materials that have been contaminated with blood and its by-products, stocks and cultures of infectious agents, discarded samples that have blood or bodily fluids on them, infected animals, contaminated materials like bandages or swabs, and equipment like disposable medical devices.
Hazardous waste is any type of surgical waste that has the possibility to affect humans in non-infectious ways, like sharp instruments and chemicals. Surgical wastes like needles, scalpels, syringes, lancets, culture dishes, and glassware are all types of sharps. Some chemically hazardous waste might include mercury, solvents and disinfectants.
Radioactive wastes are the products of nuclear medical treatments, like cancer therapies. These wastes can also come from medical equipment that uses radioactive isotopes.
Other General Waste
General waste makes up the vast majority (85%) of the waste produced at medical facilities, and is — if you can believe it — no more different than the garbage in your house. However, if staff are not careful, one of these three other types can get mixed up in this type of waste, and be disposed of improperly.
In order for a hospital to safely deal with each of these surgical wastes, it needs to hire a medical waste treatment company to specially take care of things. If not, it could risk exposing its staff, its patients, and the public to infectious diseases.
If you have any questions about surgical wastes, feel free to ask in the comments.