About Hospital Waste
What Is Hospital Waste?
understand the details of our waste program process, you should understand
some basic terms.
- Regulated Medical Waste = Hospital waste that requires,
by law, special treatment or handling
- Also known as biohazard waste, infectious waste and potentially
- Includes sharps, blood, blood products, laboratory wastes, pathological
wastes, isolation wastes, and animal carcasses
- General Waste = General trash not considered capable
of transmitting disease or causing injury. Not unlike household waste
- Waste Minimization = Waste Reduction = Source Reduction
= Reducing the toxicity or quantity of discarded products before the
products are purchased, used or discarded
- Recycling = Segregating discarded materials based
on their reusable characteristics for processing new products
- Reuse = Utilizing non-disposable supplies to reduce
Where Does the Hospital's Waste Come From? Where Does
There are 3 phases of a hospital's waste stream. At ERA, we strengthen
savings and safety in all phases.
Every supply item, once used, must be disposed of at hospital cost.
The hospital also gets the disposal bill for the packaging. Typically,
two thirds of a hospital's waste is packaging.
We educate the purchasers to consider the waste factor and to "jawbone"
suppliers and manufacturers to minimize packaging and its costs.
Once a supply item is used it becomes a waste item. Designating
the proper waste stream will have a significant effect on savings
Determining the disposal methodology for each waste stream, e.
g. hauling, recycling, autoclaving, etc. is our third savings/safety
Some Hospital Waste Facts
An overview of a typical hospital’s waste profile:
- The regulated medical waste (RMW) percentage of a hospital's total
waste ranges from 5% to 95%
- The total weighted RMW average is about 15 - 20%
- Incineration of RMW is being replaced by alternative solutions such
as steam sterilization or autoclaving
- Frequently 35-40% of disposed needles have been recapped
- Typically 80-95% of a hospital's RMW is actually general waste (GW)
- A hospital's daily waste output is very consistent from day to day
- BUT! Different hospitals differ widely in their waste characteristics
Biggest Waste Management Problems of a Typical Hospital
Hospital waste means trouble! At ERA, it is our objective to eliminate
all of a hospital's waste problems by educating employees to make
good "throw away" decisions and to keep hospitals safe
- Excessive general waste in red bags
- Throwing away of reusable instruments, linen, and other supplies
- Soaring waste handling costs
- Every hospital patient, visitor, and employee is a waste generator
- Regulated medical waste in general waste containers
- The hospital is responsible and liable for waste disposal problems
from "cradle to grave"
- Loose needles in waste bags
- Poorly sealed waste bags
- Overfilled and clogged sharps containers