Medical Waste Treatment Systems You Should Know

Medical Waste DisposalWhen you have a medical facility, a lot of medical waste is produced there and you should keep it separate and hand it over to a professional. It’s essential to understand the seriousness of treating the medical waste so that you and your staff can do it properly and there would be no risk to you, your staff, your patients and visitors. So, you should know how this waste is treated.

Various Tools for Medical Waste Disposal

Once you hand over the medical waste to professionals, they will work as per the by-laws and regulations like OSHA. Numerous tools will be used for medical waste disposal such as:

  • Containers and Carts: These are used commonly to collect medical waste e.g. dumpers, compactors, containers etc.
  • Handling: This includes pre-crushers, containers, compactors and deliquefying system
  • Conveyors: These are used to segregate the waste
  • Sterilizers: These include shredder, autoclave and size redactor
  • Recycling System: These include balers and size reduction equipment


This is the first type of medical treatment. This technology involves using a high temperature process for conversion of gases and inert material through combustion process to ash, heat and gas.

Non-incineration System

Besides incineration technology, medical waste is treated with non-incineration method too. It consists of four basic stages:

  1. Autoclaving (thermal) system is used for treating human body fluids, microbiological laboratory waste and sharps. It requires high temperature that generates steam to decontaminate the waste.
  2. Irradiation system is used to treat human body fluids that cannot be treated with autoclaving method, e.g. cytotoxic agents used for chemotherapy. This is also a high temperature method but it uses a high frequency microwave that produces heat that kills all the bacteria or any other contaminant.
  3. Chemical decontamination system is used to treat laboratory waste, sharps, human blood and body fluids. However, it cannot be used for the treatment of anatomical waste.
  4. Biological system uses enzymes to destroy the organic matter in the waste.

On-site and Off-site Treatment

It’s essential to distinguish between wastes that can be treated onsite or offsite because in most of the cases, the medical waste is a mix that’s very hard to segregate. Hence an accurate management of medical waste in separating it as per the regulations will lessen the flawed factor. Usually costly equipment is required for onsite treatment, so, most facilities choose offsite treatment.


In the US, once the healthcare facilities that produce medical waste follow regulations to collect, store, transport and treat the waste, they can then use sanitary sewer system and municipal landfill for the final disposal. You just have to take an extra care while pouring treated fluids in sewer since it may clog and leak.

Knowing the various stages of medical waste disposal, you can now treat your medical waste more appropriately and have a great peace of mind.