Methods & Challenges in Recycling Medical Waste

Methods & Challenges in Recycling Medical Waste

Methods & Challenges in Recycling Medical Waste

Medical waste, also referred to as biomedical waste, is generally categorized into two main categories, namely hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste. Effective management and disposal of different medical waste types are important to keep people and the environment safe.

The Covid-19 pandemic once again showed the significance of eliminating and recycling medical waste. Since the pandemic began, the amount of medical waste generated in different parts of the US such as Michigan has increased exponentially. However, recycling medical waste challenges remain, and better solutions are absolutely needed.


Recycling Medical Waste: Methods

Facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, research laboratories, dental clinics, veterinary clinics, and funeral homes generate medical waste. The following process can be used to manage medical waste.



The first method is to understand the type of waste generated in the facility and segregate it accordingly.

Hazardous wastes comprising pathological, toxic, chemical, and radioactive waste are considered very harmful. Non-hazardous wastes, on the other hand, consist of disposable masks, gowns, and food and are harmless. They should be collected separately.

Medical waste such as IV bags, sterile wraps, and single-use items made up of plastic along with personal hygiene products, gauze, and dressing material can be recycled easily and reused.



Autoclaving is a popular method used for medical waste disposal in Michigan and throughout the US. In this technique medical waste, contaminated medical objects, and medical equipment are placed inside a cylinder-shaped device. This cylinder is thereafter closed and supplied with high-pressure steam. The heat from the steam enables sterilization of non-pathological infectious waste and kills microorganisms. Reusable medical equipment is generally sterilized using autoclaving process.


Chemical Treatment

Chemical treatment involves the application of chemicals on contaminated medical waste. It is a process of disinfection that is carried out along with the shredding and grinding process.



Incineration is a common medical waste treatment process in which biomedical, pathological and hazardous waste is placed inside the incinerator device. This medical waste then undergoes combustion under controlled flame and high temperature.

But there are various challenges with this method which are discussed below.


Recycling Medical Waste: Challenges

One of the major challenges is that medical tools and equipment can be sterilized and reused, but medical waste cannot be recycled. Besides, some recycling medical waste challenges are:


Highly Expensive – Investing in different waste management methods is highly expensive and this is the reason why medical facilities avoid waste management using methods such as incineration.

Unsustainable – As every type of medical waste cannot be recycled and reused, medical facilities find waste recycling an unsustainable model in the long run.

Logistical Headache – If you have medical facilities at different locations in Michigan, management, and handling of medical waste becomes a logistical headache.

You can trust waste management experts for handling recycling medical waste challenges. Medical Waste Recovery (MWR) is a leading company trusted for medical waste disposal in Michigan. The expert team promises safe disposal of all types of medical waste at affordable rates. It includes biomedical waste from hospitals, veterinary clinics, tattoo parlors, police stations, COVID testing facilities, schools, and others.

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