Nowadays and more than ever before due to the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of tons of waste are generated at hospitals, laboratories, health centers, clinics and other medical centers.

 

Sensitive and hazardous materials that require specific treatment

Medical waste is very sensitive material when it comes to its elimination due to its hazardous nature: the possibility of bacteria, equipment with pathogens, radioactive waste, etc. In this sense, it must be eliminated in a special way according and with total safety.

For the elimination of this type of waste, and because it cannot be recycled due to its hazardous nature, the most efficient way to eliminate medical waste is via waste valorization. Waste incineration systems are usually rotary kilns, designed to eliminate solid waste of a wide variety of origins and characteristics. However, static furnaces could also be used when the volume of waste to be incinerated of this medical type is relatively small. A pretreatment before disposal may also be done with steam at high temperatures or by boiling the material with water.

 

Typology of medical waste

Medical waste can be of different types, such as:

– Gloves, masks and various PPE contaminated with bacteria, viruses, pathogens, etc.

– Clothes and gauze

– Used medical equipment

– Radioactive materials

– X-ray waste

– Syringes

– Human tissue remains

– Plasma and blood

– Veterinary animal waste

– Etc.

 

Technologies available in the market for waste valorization

In the circular model of waste management, waste-to-energy solutions play a key role when waste cannot be recycled. By means of waste valorization a value is obtained from hazardous and highly polluting waste.

There are various advanced technologies for hazardous, medical waste treatment.

Let’s see some of them:

 

Pyrolysis

Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of organic compounds in the absence of oxygen and is the first stage in the gasification phase for combustion.

 

Gasification or controlled pyrolysis

Gasification or controlled pyrolysis is the process by which organic matter is partially oxidized, obtaining syngas.

 

Direct Combustion / Incineration

Direct combustion or incineration generate energy in the form of heat. This energy can be used to obtain electricity, steam or hot water for the plant’s internal processes.

 

Waste-to-Energy (WtE or W2E)

It is the processing of waste to obtain energy, which can be used in the same plant or commercialized.

 

Waste-to-fuel

It is the treatment process by which certain types of fuels are obtained from waste.

 

Waste-to-product

It is the generation of new raw materials, intermediate or final products from waste treatment.

 

Composting / Biodry

It is the industrial processing and drying of organic waste and sludge to transform them into agricultural fertilizers.

 

Biomethanization

Biomethanization is the transformation of organic compounds into biogas. Thanks to its high calorific value, it is used as fuel for boilers and cogeneration.

 

They key factor about waste valorization is to carry out the treatment of this type of hazardous and medical waste at source, that is, in the facilities where they are generated, as the best way to optimize global costs and carry out the safest environmental management of these residues in each of the phases.

To conclude, we can say that there are several cutting-edge, efficient technologies nowadays to safely dispose of medical waste while obtaining a benefit and being more environmentally-friendly.

 

If you are interested in obtaining further technical details on this topic or learning more about Tecam environmental solutions for emissions treatment and waste valorization, please contact us – we will be happy to help you: info@tecamgroup.com or +34 93 428 11 54.

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