Biomedical Waste Management in Indian Hospitals

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Biomedical waste management has received recent attention in the context of Indian hospitals and healthcare centers. The country has taken an eco-friendly approach towards planning and the appropriate disposal of their medical waste.

In fact, the sustainable management of biomedical waste is the responsibility of the entire medical and healthcare community. Most of this waste is produced during the diagnosis, treatment, and surgeries of patients.

And the hospitals plan to monitor its production and disposal to the best of their potential.

This article discusses the concept and the practice of biomedical waste management in India. It outlines an analytical design and approach to ecologically regulate the dynamics of this waste management system.

Scroll down to know more.

Biomedical Waste Generation in India

On average, the country generates around 0.33 million tons of annual waste. This includes:

  • Solid and infectious waste (such as linens and bandages) accounts for 30-35%

  • Plastic waste accounts for 7-10%

  • Disposal syringes waste accounts to 0.3-0.5%

  • Glass waste accounts for 3-5%

  • Other general waste accounts for 40-45%

However, most of this waste occurs in mixed ratios. Most of the Indian hospital facilities prefer to discard it via their Municipal Corporation’s services.

Concept of 3 R’s in Biomedical Waste Management

The waste management system is premised on the 3 R principle - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

  • Reduce: It refers to the minimization of biomedical waste production.

  • Reuse: The healthcare facilities must endeavor to sterilize and reuse products as much as possible

  • Recycle: It is the usage of previously used products but in a different and an upgraded form

Hospital facilities must follow this triple R waste management principle and sustainably monitor the generation and ejection of waste.

Waste Minimization

Healthcare facilities should minimize the generation of biomedical waste through the following suggestions:

  • Opt for source reduction programs

  • Training the medical staff and season them towards less wasteful clinical practices

  • Procure support from the management team for biomedical waste processing.

  • Set realistic and achievable goals

  • Consider the quantities of waste production and its characteristics such as the accumulative properties of waste, its toxicity, and environmental persistence, etc

  • Review the waste management generation data and cost dynamics

Advantages of Waste Minimization

Biomedical waste minimization has the following benefits:

  • It reduces the expenditure of waste disposal

  • It accelerates public health as well as the image of the healthcare facility

  • It curtails the toxic impact of waste products on the environment

  • It enhances the safety of the workers and the medical staff

Techniques for Waste Minimization

Here are some pertinent techniques for engendering waste minimization:

  • Product substitution with enhanced technological modifications in the new product

  • Change in the input material of products for a better and advanced monitoring process

  • Improved segregation of products with the use of blue (for dry garbage and degradable waste), green (for recyclable waste), and red (for recyclable and non-degradable waste) dustbins

  • Appropriate processing for the recovery of resource products

Other Waste Management Techniques in Healthcare Facilities

Here are a few potentially dynamic methods of reducing waste generation:

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

  • Hospital facilities are recommended to opt for eco-friendly products whose fabrication has been clinically assessed

  • These products have been evidenced to cause less damage to the environment as compared to other commercial products

  • Also known as ‘green products,’ it comprises efficient recyclable materials for subsequent use

Life Cycle Approach

  • Medical setups need to consider the environmental impacts of raw material acquisition, product generation, and its final disposal

  • It is often used by governmental medical authorities and institutions.

  • Use of ‘green labeling’ is one of the prominent parts of the Life Cycle Approach

Packaging and Green Purchasing

  • Go for products which require minimum packaging

  • Ask the vendors and shipping companies to take back the previous packages for next use and purchase service

  • Connect with group purchasing organizations for procuring specified products with reduced packaging features. ZEPNURhealth’s Group Purchasing approach can help buyers purchase the equipment at cost-effective prices

  • Work with vendors which promote and follow the ‘green packaging and purchasing system’ with their customers

Inventory Control

  • This concerns the adequate management of supply, storage and distribution system of medical products

  • The goal of this approach is to reduce the total inventory cost by operational optimizations

  • Overall, it assists in reducing wasted inventory from expiry or over-ordering of supplies

Other Source Reduction Practices

  • Physical cleaning (using steam) instead of chemical cleaning of medical products.

  • Using all left-over material to reduce wastage of medical products

  • Centralized purchasing of harmful and synthetic chemicals and their proper storage and utility

  • Purchasing products which have a long expiration period

  • Purchase of recyclable plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate

  • Safe reuse of medical materials

Examples of single-use versus reusable materials

Single-Use Materials

  • Disposable aprons and gowns

  • Personal care wipes

  • Single-use batteries and cardboard

  • Medical use syringes

Reusable Materials

  • Washable cloth gowns

  • Washable glass and surgical appliances

  • Sterilizable materials

  • Reusable plastic containers

Altogether, a hospital facility can effectively manage its biomedical waste through the aforementioned approaches. Ultimately, each healthcare facility must consider sustainable waste production and disposal procedures for their set up.

ZEPNURhealth practices a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to the waste management system in India. You can procure different medical equipment and surgical appliances on our website

Log in to our website for more information and details on our products and services. We deliver medical equipment across India. Connect with us for affordable quotes over the deliverables.


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