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Where do Hospitals Throw Their Medical Waste?

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Medical wastes are disposed of based on the type and volume of the waste. Generally, there are off-site and on-site options for waste disposal. However, these waste will need to undergo specific treatment to eliminate or reduce infectious potential.

The Two Primary Hospital Waste Disposal Options

Autoclaving or incineration are two main applicable options for disposing of hospital waste. Another name for autoclaving is steam sterilization. These two options both have their advantages and disadvantages.


An Incinerator is a controlled location where medical waste is burnt. There are several on-site incinerators in some hospitals, while some make use of off-site locations. For those with on-site incinerators, they make use of special equipment and technology.

This method reduces the waste volume that needs to be transported to specified disposal or landfill sites. This will save the hospital some expenses.

An autoclave is a closed chamber disposal system. It uses heat in the steam form to sterilize medical waste, which will effectively kill off the microorganisms. The hospital environment uses an autoclave to sterilize their equipment and tools. It is used mainly for destroying sharp medical waste.

The medical waste placed in autoclaves is treated with very high temperatures based on the autoclave size and medical waste that requires sterilization. Just like with incinerators, not all hospitals have autoclave equipment. Most hospital autoclaves are in the volume size range of 100 to 4,000 liters.

Final Words

Medical wastes can be high risks; hence it needs to be disposed of with extra care. Over the years, autoclaves and incinerators are effective in properly disposing of medical waste. In many cases, hospitals use a mix of both off site and on site autoclaves or incinerators medical waste disposal for both convenience and efficiency reasons.