Benefits of recycling medical consumables
Medical waste as defined by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) refers to ‘any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or the production or testing of biologicals.’ An inadequate medical waste management system can lead to the spread of various infections and diseases. In an attempt to prevent such serious consequences, recycling of medical consumables has been identified as an appropriate solution for the conservation of natural resources and protection of the environment.
If medical healthcare institutions and hospitals begin recycling their medical consumables, it can lead to increased sustainability of medical products. This, in turn, will lead to substantial financial savings for the hospitals.
There are mainly three types of medical wastes, which are as follows:
- Infectious Waste: This type of medical waste causes various infections in people who come in contact with it and is considered to be the worst out of all the other categories. Any used medical consumable which has been in contact with body fluids and blood can be categorized as infectious waste.
- Hazardous Waste: This type of medical waste won’t result in any sort of infections but will lead to skin fissures and burns. Used medical consumables that can come under this category are needles, surgery equipment, and syringes.
- Radioactive Waste: This type of medical waste comes from radiations associated with cancer treatments and from medical devices which are exposed to radioactive elements. Therefore, special disposal methods are used in the clearance of radioactive medical waste.
Aggregating, recycling, and then reusing medical consumables can help in reducing the amount of medical waste which would otherwise get dumped in landfills. If lesser amount of medical wastes are deposited in landfills then there will be a substantial decrease in the levels of greenhouse emissions and carbon dioxide in the air.
Alongside decreasing the level of poisonous elements in the air, the recycling of medical consumables also helps hospitals and medical healthcare providers in saving a lot of money when buying first-hand new medical equipment. This is because, if hospitals buy processed and recycled medical devices from recycling centers, they will acquire the products at 40 to 60 percent lower than the new devices.
Another advantage of using recycled medical consumables is that landfills that are used for disposing medical wastes charge medical health care centers for a particular amount of money per pound of waste. If hospitals decrease the use of landfills then they can save this money and use it to buy better medical devices or allocate the finances towards more efficient patient care systems.