Medical Waste

There are 92,000 hospital beds producing over 5M tonnes of medical waste every year in Australia.

The common methods of management for medical waste in Australia are:

  • Incineration
  • Autoclaving and shredding
  • Chemical disinfection and shredding.

Incineration is the most common approach and is used for 38% of waste, followed by chemical physical treatment (CPT) for 29% of waste, and 18% of waste going into storage. We predict the amount of waste being incinerated is higher than 38% due to incomplete data that inflates landfill figures. Small proportions of medical waste are sent to landfill in QLD and WA, however this waste is treated by a medical waste company prior to being sent to landfill, so it is a safe and acceptable form of final management. 

The storage of medical waste has decreased from the high level of 32% in 2014-15, to 18% in 2017-18. Victoria stores the highest level of medical waste (25%) however this is due to their accredited agents’ system, where large volumes of medical waste are collected from multiple places by medical waste industry collectors. This waste accumulates at their depots for a short period of time and is then sent on for further management through methods such as incineration.

Medical Waste Treatment

Medical waste containers can be cast into the device

Needles

Diapers

Surgical instruments

Blood & body tissue

Chemical agents & nonwoven fabrics

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