Medical Hazardous Waste Disposal Methods

Medical waste needs some care for being disposed of properly. The main problem in dealing with medical waste is the risk of infection. Pathological wastes may contain dangerous and contagious infectious agents and so can laboratory cultures. Sharps (sharp objects like scissors and injections) if mismanaged can insert harmful agents directly into the bloodstream.

Hazardous wastes are a category in and by itself but they can overlap with medical waste. I mean a waste can be medical and hazardous at the same time. Such medical hazardous waste contains highly toxic compounds like those used in chemotherapy, and therefore are subject to special regulations under the federal law.

Below I shall describe two ways how such waste should be dealt with.


Incineration refers to the act of burning the medical hazardous waste. The three main types of incinerators that are used are controlled air, excess air, and rotary kiln.

However controlled-air incineration is the most widely used medical waste incinerator (MWI) technology, and now dominates the market for new systems at hospitals and similar medical facilities.

Thermal processes

Processes that rely on heat i.e. thermal energy to destroy pathogens in the waste are called thermal processes. This category is further subdivided into low-heat, medium-heat, and high-heat thermal processes. This further division is necessary because physical and chemical reactions that take place in thermal processes change drastically at different temperatures.

Low-heat thermal processes are those that use heat energy to decontaminate the waste at temperatures which are insufficient to cause chemical breakdown or to support combustion. In general, low-heat thermal technologies operate between 200 F to about 350 F (93 C to 177 C).

Medium-heat thermal processes take place at temperatures between 350 F to 700 F (177 C to 370 C) and involve the chemical breakdown of organic material. These processes are the basis for relatively new technologies.

High-heat thermal processes generally operate at temperatures ranging from around 1,000 F to 15,000 F (540 C to 8,300 C). This intense heat is provided by electrical resistance, induction, natural gas, and/or plasma energy.

Waste which is considered both as medical waste and hazardous waste i.e. medical hazardous waste can be particularly difficult to deal with, since most service providers that handle treatment and disposal of medical wastes are not willing to accept hazardous wastes, and vice versa.

Therefore the logical thing to do here is to hire a good medical waste disposal company that deals with medical hazardous waste. They will take care of things for you.

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