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Are Medical Waste Disposed of in Landfills?

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Currently, there is an increased environmental awareness on how to reduce medical waste effectively. Controlling infections expose challenges since there are strict standards and regulations set concerning waste disposal. Medical waste disposal and the practice vary from one state to another.

Medical waste exists in four forms: the hazardous, infectious, radioactive, and "other." Medical wastes such as hazardous, infectious, and radioactive materials exist in small portions of about 10%, but the concern on how to control it is alarming.

Reduction of regulated medical waste is possible through the adoption of fluid management practices. Otherwise, the entire medical waste ends up either in the incinerator, landfill, or autoclave.

For the states that have restricted landfill spaces, they adopt solid waste recycling for segregation purposes. Some states, such as New York City, do not have landfills for such waste, and they normally adopt the trucking measures at a different location.

St. Luke's Hospital recommends that the waste disposal process commences with available red bags. The bags come in different sizes where the materials packed here are sterilized, frayed, and then final disposal. Fluid management practice is another effective waste disposal process for disposing of liquid wastes.

The waste, such as syringes and needles, is put in containers that are melted to an unrecognized state. Like the red bag waste, the liquid waste obtained from the melting process is sent to a landfill. In some states, standards and policies have been set to control the infection and reduce the amount sent to the landfill.


It is clear that both solid and liquid waste, when disposed of, end in landfills. But the amount to be sent varies depending on the kind of measures and policies put in place.