Treated as hazardous waste, medical waste must be handled and disposed of according to strict standards. It’s imperative to segregate medical waste from general waste, and even more so, to segregate it further into sub-streams, including clinical, cytotoxic, pharmaceutical, and anatomical waste.
On-site segregation is important for reasons relating to health and safety and the environment. To achieve this, separate bins must be allocated to each stream of medical rubbish, and health care staff should be trained effectively on how to dispose of their waste.
To Avoid Infections
According to the World Health Organisation, 15% of the waste generated by health care activities is considered hazardous and may be infectious, toxic or radioactive. Segregating
your medical waste is important for avoiding health risks. Not only does this include infections, but also toxic exposure and sharps-related injuries.
Medical waste bins are colour-coordinated, clearly labelled, and prioritise the use of lids, as opposed to indoor general waste bins, where lids aren’t always a necessity. This is important in reducing health and safety risks in health care facilities where medical waste disposal is needed.
To Protect the Environment
According to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria, the responsibility for ensuring wastes are managed correctly rests with the generator. However, there are a number of ways a medical facility can act sustainably when handling their waste. This includes reducing waste by understanding where and how it is generated in the facility.
However, a large portion of medical waste is generated by single-use items to ensure safe and sterile treatment for patients. Handling this correctly involves sterilising the rubbish before it is sent to landfill. Although this does not reduce the amount of landfill, it does ensure that the hazardous waste doesn’t seep into our airways and waterways. When it comes to sustainable waste management services Sydney, reducing landfill pollution is the ultimate goal.
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