All of the items that are used in healthcare must be disposed of correctly in a way that is environmentally safe and also responsible. This includes syringes, needles, and expired pills.
There are a lot of used syringes, dirty needles, pharmaceutical waste such as expired or contaminated drugs, and even infectious waste such as blood, used dressings, and bacterial cultures. Of course, all these things pose massive health and contamination risks and if they’re not disposed of properly, they can lead to even bigger health and environmental risks.
Luckily, we have some information that will undoubtedly help you. Here are three effective ways to manage your medical waste.
1. Correct disposal
Correct disposal means everything when it comes to keeping our environment safe and healthy, which is our priority. Before items are disposed of, they must go through a thorough treatment process to minimise health threats and reduce damage to our environment.
The terms of treatment realistically depend on the facilities, but the most common terms of medical waste treatment are:
- Steam sterilisation: A great decontamination method that is simple but highly effective. Pressurised steam operates at a high temperature and kills off microorganisms.
- Mechanical treatment: Grinding/shredding.
- Chemical treatment: The use of disinfectants.
It is of the utmost importance that all staff are educated on the significance of disposal of medical waste correctly.
2. Develop a plan
Developing a plan could be considered one of the most important things when it comes to the management of medical waste. Every great facility will have an effective and proper plan in place regarding the management of their medical waste. The responsibilities and roles of each member as well as the waste management plan should be laid out as soon as possible with hospitals and will usually be the first thing you learn.
It is also of great importance that every staff member understands knows how much waste is generated and to what extent it does or does not fluctuate. It is up to the hospital to effectively teach this to their staff.
3. Introduce reusable items
Surprisingly, one of the worst ways to deal with waste items is to dispose of them. The most effective way to avoid waste is to not produce it in the first place. Understandably, waste is unavoidable in some circumstances, however, where possible it should be avoided.
A big way to make a change is to make the switch to reusable products where it is possible. Opting for greener alternatives could make the biggest difference to the environment and hospitals themselves. It is insanely easy to use reusable items in hospitals and it will be a godsend to the environment should hospitals consider reusable items.
In some cases, hospitals already use reusable products but for the sake of patient safety, some things just simply can’t be reusable. For example, any sharps containers and some specific medical instruments can actually be reusable! They will simply need to be sanitised and disinfected before/after each use and voila!
Before buying a product, it is always a good idea to check if it may be reusable. This will not only save money, but it will also save medical waste.
It is important to take care when disposing of your medical waste, see how to do it here.