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Why Steam Autoclaving of Biomedical Waste is Overtaking Incineration

May 12, 2022

A woman on a white background holds her palms like bowls or scales and looks thoughtfully at one hand, as if weighing the pros and consYou can look back over just the past 100 years and quickly realize how many conveniences of modern life have drastically changed and improved. The telephone, light bulb, toilet, automobile, clothes iron, vacuum cleaner, and lawn mower all have had changes that improved efficiency, cost and in some cases, reduced their environmental impact.

Leaders in medical waste management continue to find ways to improve how we dispose of medical waste in a safe, cost efficient, and environmentally-friendly way while still complying with state and federal laws.

What are the differences between incineration and steam autoclaving?

Here are descriptions of incineration and autoclaving to illustrate the differences between them:

  • Incineration burns harmful medical waste at a very high temperature in a large container to sterilize it, destroy it, and reduce it to landfill.
  • Steam autoclaving uses steam under pressure at a very high temperature for an extended amount of time to sterilize and kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores.

Why is steam autoclaving overtaking incineration?

While incineration and steam autoclaving each have their strengths and weaknesses, steam autoclaving appears to be overtaking incineration as a popular means of safely and legally disposing of medical waste. Here are some benefits of the process of steam autoclaving.

  • Practical: Steam autoclaving of biomedical waste is highly recommended for “red bag” medical waste, which is the bulk of medical waste and includes bandages, gowns, gauze, and blood-contaminated materials.
  • Safe: Steam autoclaving is also considered safer than incineration for sharps and glass items. This is because glass items can crack and burst in the heat and metal sharps can survive the incineration process, each creating their own hazards.
  • Cost-Effective: In the long term, autoclaving waste is less expensive than incineration.
  • Green: Steam autoclaving is chemical free and produces none of the harmful emissions created by incinerators.

No matter how your medical waste is processed and disposed of, finding a reputable medical waste management company can be challenging. Look for a company with top-notch customer service, competitive pricing, and green practices that puts safety first.

GreenServ has been providing compliant and secure medical waste disposal services in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas since 2012. If you have questions of would like more information, please give us a call at 662-533-0940 or complete the form on this page. We look forward to hearing from you!

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