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Medical Waste Facts and Figures

facts and figures

  • Globally, health care activities generate huge amounts of waste. Around 85% of it is non-hazardous general trash, and 15% is hazardous which means that it’s infectious, toxic or radioactive.
  • Most of the hazardous waste consists of infectious or tissue waste. 1% of the hazardous waste is sharps. 3% of it consists of pharmaceuticals and other chemicals.
  • Around 3% of all drug costs come from drug wastage. In the US alone this translates to over $1 billion a year.
  • In the US, there are almost 5000 acute hospitals generating about 7000 tons of waste every day. About $10 billion is spent each year to dispose of all this.
  • One of the biggest challenges faced by health care facilities is the correct disposal of medical waste. The situation is made more complex by their having to conform to the HIPAA and various local and state by-laws.
  • Around 16 billion injections are given every year. Not all these sharps produced are correctly disposed of. Dangerously, many still end up on regular waste dumps.
  • Hospital waste consists of infection waste such as blood, pathological waste such as human tissues, sharps such as needs, pharmaceutical waste such as leftover medication, genotoxic waste such as chemotherapy products, chemical waste such as mercury from broken thermometers, and radioactive waste such as is used for medical imaging.