How to manage medical waste?

31 August 2023

The role of Newster for a correct and ecological management of hospital medical waste

The proper management of medical waste, from hospitals or health care facilities, is a matter of great importance to public health and the environment, as it is critical to preventing the spread of infection and protecting the community from potential risks.

In this article we will explain how to properly manage medical waste and Newster technology for its treatment and sterilization.

The types of medical waste

Italian Legislative Decree 219/2000 defined the types of medical waste according to the degree of hazardousness and infectious risk, here is how they are classified:

  • Hazardous Health Care Waste with Infectious Risk: this category includes waste from health care facilities or laboratories that is potentially contaminated with biological pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites. These wastes require special treatment and disposal to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Non-infectious hazardous medical waste: this category includes wastes that may be hazardous because of the chemicals or physical characteristics they contain, but do not pose a direct risk of infection. Examples may include radioactive materials, hazardous chemicals, or expired reagents.
  • Non-hazardous health care waste: this category includes waste generated in health care that poses no danger to public health or the environment. Patient meals not from an infectious ward, empty containers, and glass are just a few examples of wastes.
  • Medical wastes requiring special disposal methods: this category includes wastes that, although not hazardous or infectious, still require special disposal methods because of their size, the material of which they are composed, or local disposal restrictions. Expired drugs, unrecognizable anatomical parts, psychotropic or narcotic substances, laboratory animals and guinea pigs, and antiblastic chemotherapy drugs fall into this category.

How should infectious hazardous medical waste be managed?

Hazardous medical waste with an infectious risk requires particularly scrupulous and careful handling to ensure the safety of those involved in its handling and disposal, as well as to prevent the spread of infection. First, it is essential to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes gloves, uniform, goggles or protective mask, and safety shoes.

Waste should be disposed of in appropriate containers according to its nature:

  • Cardboard containers: used for non-sharp, non-liquid waste.
  • Hard plastic containers (Halibox): these containers are specifically designed for sharp waste or sharp objects, such as needles or scalpels. They provide added safety by preventing objects from piercing the material and causing damage.
  • Canisters: liquid waste should be disposed of in special canisters to avoid spills and environmental contamination.
How should infectious hazardous medical waste be managed?

It is important to fill the containers to three-quarters of their volume to prevent the contents from spilling out during transport and disposal.

After depositing the waste in the appropriate containers, it is necessary to close the bag carefully without crushing the contents.

An essential step is labeling the container. The type of waste, the department and agency of origin, the date of disposal, and whether Halibox is present (in the case of rigid sharps waste containers) should be clearly written on the label. This detailed labeling helps keep track of the waste and facilitates appropriate management during subsequent steps in the process.

Finally, infectious risk waste is transported by a dedicated cart to the designated room, where it must be handled within 24 hours of its generation. This restrictive timing is necessary to avoid potential contamination risks.

The management of non-infectious hazardous medical waste

Again, it is essential to wear the appropriate PPE, such as gloves, overalls or uniform, goggles or protective mask, and safety shoes.

A crucial step is to tightly seal the canisters and plastic containers that hold the waste. This operation prevents accidental spills of hazardous substances during transportation and storage. In addition, it is crucial to keep waste separated according to its nature and the type of substances it contains.

Once properly closed and kept separate, the containers must be stored in a designated room. This room is dedicated exclusively to the storage of hazardous waste and must be equipped with a specific cart to transport the containers.

Finally, the last stage of management involves the pickup of hazardous waste by a licensed disposal company, this is to ensure that the waste is treated in a safe and environmentally friendly manner, avoiding potential damage to the environment and human health.

How should non-hazardous medical waste be managed?

The procedure begins with the mandatory use of gloves to avoid direct contact with the waste. It is essential to employ dedicated bags, the color of which is regulated by the municipal regulations of the health facility's location.

Finally, final pickup must be carried out by the staff of the facility's cleaning company.

The management of medical waste that requires special disposal methods

The management of these wastes requires special handling methods, depending on the type of waste.

For waste drugs, it is necessary to label the container "Expired Drugs" and attach a declaration of the absence of narcotic drugs, for which there is a different procedure. Both cases require the waste to be delivered to the hospital's pharmacy service. 

For organs and anatomical parts that cannot be recognized, the procedure for hazardous waste with infectious risk must be followed. 

For antiblastic chemotherapy drugs, it is essential to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). They should be disposed of in special containers marked "hazardous medical waste cytotoxic and cytostatic drugs," filled 3/4 full, tightly sealed, labeled and deposited via specific cart in the designated room of the department.

In all such cases, it is essential to have disposable gloves during all stages of waste treatment.

The possibility of waste sterilization within the health care facility and Newster's role

Sterilization of hazardous medical waste within health care facilities is a permitted practice without the need for external authorization.

However, this does not imply less strict management or less control over sterilization operations by facilities. The regulations set precise conditions that health care facilities must meet if they have sterilization facilities, these include:

  • The exclusive treatment of internal waste;
  • The sending of communications to the competent province to carry out the appropriate controls;
  • The periodic validation of the facility (every 24 months), subject to inspection by the competent authority;
  • The maintenance of records of operations and waste handled.
The possibility of waste sterilization within the health care facility and Newster's role

We at Newster play an essential role in this context, as we provide facilities for the treatment and sterilization of infectious hazardous medical waste for hospitals and health care facilities.

Our state-of-the-art machines are designed with an innovative system based on friction and sterilization.

During the process, the waste undergoes a strict sterilization protocol that ensures the killing of microorganisms and bacteria. At the end of the treatment cycle, the waste is transformed into undifferentiated municipal waste and is ready to be disposed of safely and in accordance with current regulations.

This ecological approach is an effective solution to reduce the risk of contamination, protect public health, and dramatically decrease the impact of medical waste.

For more information about our equipment, contact us now!

Newster System S.r.l.
Via Pascoli, 26/28
47853 Cerasolo di Coriano (RN)
Tel. +39 0541 759160
Fax +39 0541 759163
VAT NUMBER IT09269221009

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Newster System S.r.l. - Via Pascoli, 26/28 - 47853 Cerasolo di Coriano (RN) - Tel. +39 0541 759160 - Fax +39 0541 759163 - VAT NUMBER IT09269221009

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