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How Does Decomposition Work in Medical Waste?

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Medical waste produced in the healthcare settings may include used syringes and needles, diagnostic samples for laboratory tests, chemicals, blood samples, anatomical waste or body parts, maternal placenta, and even radioactive materials.

There are a lot of considerations when these are disposed to prevent the risk of disease transmission. Here are some ways medical waste is treated:


This method is for known infectious types of wastes. Medical waste is placed inside a huge pressure cooker at high temperatures to kill pathogens and various microorganisms. It acts like a sterilization process for decontamination and then disposal.

Chemical Treatment

Most waste that undergoes this process are liquids. In chemical treatment, the liquid waste is being decontaminated to ensure that it is non-infectious anymore.

Microwave Treatment

This process is somewhat similar to using an autoclave. Waste is being shredded, so it would
be easier to sterilize and decontaminate by using heat and can then be buried in a landfill.

Land Disposal

Another option is to dispose of medical waste through the use of the natural decomposition process. After doing the first three processes, treated medical waste is brought in these constructed or identified areas far from water sources and where people live. These are specialized sanitary landfill areas that are considered safe areas to process medical waste.

There is also a process called biodigestion, where bacteria decompose organic matter to produce biogas. Another name for this process is anaerobic digestion, where oxygen is absent to achieve the creation of biogas that can be used as a fuel.

Final Words

Medical waste can significantly affect people and other organisms, and treating it properly before disposing it to landfill areas helps ensure that it will not cause further harm to the environment and other people.