Biohazard regulated medical waste (RMW) is known as biohazardous, biomedical, infectious, sharps waste, and clinical medical waste. This waste is defined as waste containing infectious materials or potentially infectious substances such as blood. Other examples include blood products, animal waste, microbiological waste, and pathological waste.
Healthcare facilities, veterinary clinics, and many other faculties generate over one million tons of biohazard waste annually. While most of this waste is harmless, approximately 15% poses a potential infection hazard. Thus there have been set guidelines, specifically towards different types of waste that facilities must obey by. The University of Oregon created a great in-depth spreadsheet that gives direction how to stay within the biohazard waste disposal guidelines.
Treatment after disposal is done in two ways. Biohazard waste will be ether incinerated or put into an autoclave for sanitation. Incineration is starting to phase out due to the environmental impact, due to the fact waste is burned and ashes are taken to a landfill. Autoclave is more of an expensive sterilization, but ensure of the least environmental impact. This process is done by using high levels of heat, light, and pressure to sanitize the biohazardous waste.
Image source: Nicolas Raymond on Flickr
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