Medical Waste

Medical Waste Treatment in the News #004


Slowly but surely, the world is waking up to the increasing severity of the global medical waste treatment problem. Here, we take a look at some of the news making the headlines globally including how Kerala is tackling their latest medical waste challenges and what the launch of a new clinical waste strategy by the NHS means for medical waste treatment in the UK.

“Medical waste disposal from households, shops poses major challenge in Kerala”

As discussed in this article by New Indian Express, officials in charge of the scientific handling of non-biodegradable waste- are facing an extreme challenge in trying to deal with an ever-increasing amount of waste in the region.

Recently over 7 tonnes of medical waste was collected from households and some 25,000+ medical shops. According to the article, this figure “is likely to go up as more collection drives are being planned”.

In order to tackle the problem, an increased level of financial commitment has been required to scale up waste collection to ensure it is carried out more frequently and in higher quantities:

“The district drug controller offices of four districts have entered into an agreement with the Clean Kerala Company Ltd (CKCL)  to allocate funds for the safe disposal of unused and expired drugs that could pose serious environmental pollution and health hazard.

The CKCL has entered into an agreement with KEIL (Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Ltd) for disposing of the collected medical waste. According to an official of CKCL, the waste has to be moved weekly or bi-weekly, and the collection will be scaled up immediately”.

Whilst this is a positive step for waste management in Kerala, the story didn’t end there…

As reported by Kaumidi Online, on 27th June a major fire broke out at the Palakkad Kootttupatha Wate Treatment Plant. As well a being an obvious blow to Kerala’s ability to get on top of the waste treatment problem, the fire also caused smoke and fumes from the waste to be emanated into the atmosphere, doing undoubted damage to the environment and potentially public health.

The problems faced by Kerala, many of which are replicated around the world, are a clear example of why the ability to treat waste on-site is so important. Whilst Kerala has had to deploy yet more funds to increase the frequency of waste pick-ups, the Envomed 80 would completely remove this need. Installing the Envomed 80 at any of the 25,000+ ‘medical shops’ discussed in the New Indian Express article would allow them to treat up to 80 litres of their waste on their own premises in under 20mins – freeing up those vital additional funds for spending elsewhere.

Furthermore, in a world where all medical waste was treated effectively on-site, there would be no risk of major treatment plant fires, and in turn no risk to public health and the environment.

UK NHS launches Clinical Waste Strategy 

In March the UK NHS launched a new Clinical Waste Strategy, which it says can “save approximately £11 million every year in recurrent revenue costs and [we can] reduce our carbon emissions from waste by approximately 30% – equivalent to removing 2 million road miles a year”.

Recognising the huge quantity of waste generated by the UK healthcare system “NHS providers produce approximately 156,000 tonnes of clinical waste that is either sent to high temperature incineration (HTI) or for alternative treatment (AT), which is equivalent to over 400 loaded jumbo jets of waste” the new rolling 10 year strategy includes focus areas such as Data, Workforce, Compliance, Commercial, Infrastructure and Sustainability.

Perhaps most significantly, the strategy provides for an investment in clinical waste infrastructure, prioritising in-house waste processing capability.

The strategy quite rightly points out that: “This action will enable the NHS to:

  • Have the right waste infrastructure in place, offering significant long-term benefits by lowering costs and increasing resilience.
  • Reduce the environmental impact of waste management by improving processes and reducing road miles.
  • Create an opportunity to integrate the infrastructure developments into the New Hospital Programme (NHP).

Additionally, having in-house medical waste treatment equipment – such as the Envomed 80 would reduce the risks to public health caused by the action of transporting infectious waste offsite for treatment.

“Innovative solutions and dedicated efforts can bring about positive change”.

An article by Environmental Protection has warned of “the tremendous environmental repercussions associated with mishandling medical waste”, stating that it is imperative the issue is dealt with head-on.

They say: “without well-established, efficient waste management strategies, medical waste becomes a ticking environmental time bomb, posing profound risks to human health and the ecosystem”.

Environmentally-speaking, the article explains that improperly treated medical waste can pollute air, water, and soil, leading to the release of harmful chemicals and pathogens. However, these consequences can also develop into pubic and wildlife health issues as the contamination can extend to bodies of water which end up creating an extremely negative ripple effect throughout the living world.

Thankfully though, the article also adds weight to our belief that the very latest waste treatment technology is capable of turning the tide and bringing about positive change in this vitally important area.

Environmental Protection concludes; “it’s clear that innovative solutions and dedicated efforts can bring about positive change. From the growth of telemedicine and the development of advanced waste treatment methods, these examples offer a beacon of hope.

It’s essential that we, as individuals, healthcare institutions and policymakers, heed the call to action and make concerted efforts to improve medical waste management. Our actions today will directly impact the sustainability of our future, and online platforms can play a pivotal role in facilitating this process”.

If you would like to find out more about one of these advanced treatment methods  – the Envomed 80, which allows for the onsite treatment of up to 80 litres of sharps and infectious medical waste in under 20 minutes – to STAATT Level IV  – in a completely validatable way, head over to and be part of the solution today!