What is Medical Waste?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines medical waste as “all forms of waste generated by health care facilities”. Any object (for example bandages, syringes, bed sheets etc.) that has come into contact with any form of bodily fluid, is considered to be potentially infectious and hazardous. That makes up to 20% of medical waste generated daily, hazardous. According to the WHO, high-income countries are generating approximately 0.5 kg of hazardous waste per hospital bed (per day). Lower-income countries approximately 0.2 kg per hospital bed (per day) and the numbers are on the rise.
Infectious Waste: waste contaminated with any form of bodily fluids (e.g. discarded medical tools, lines, sample kits, laboratory cultures, bandages etc.), as well as infected waste from patients.
Sharps Waste: sharp surgical equipment (disposable scalpels and blades), syringes, needles etc.
Pathological Waste: contaminated carcasses (animals), human tissues, organs or fluids, body parts, fetal tissue, etc.
Pharmaceutical Waste: drugs that either expired or contaminated, unused vaccines etc.
Cytotoxic Waste: waste containing genotoxic properties (e.g. Cancer drugs – mutagenic, teratogenic or carcinogenic, known to be highly hazardous).
Radioactive Waste: products contaminated by radionuclides (e.g. radiotherapeutic materials).