Over the past year, disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has become an ongoing challenge. COVID-19 not only threatened the healthcare facilities with over-capacity but has also put strains on waste management systems across the globe with mass amounts of PPE waste. PPE includes anything vital for healthcare workers including single-use gloves, aprons, gowns, surgical masks, respirators, goggles, and face shields. But as we know, the use of PPE such as face masks and more are not just used by medical workers, but also the general public. The face masks and other PPE protect us from spreading and contracting the virus when we are going to school or work, eating or shopping at our favorite restaurant, or visiting a friend, or going to the doctor.
Types of PPE Waste and Avoiding Spread of Disease
At the current time, most healthcare PPE is just used once to avoid disease spread. But with COVID-19 and the immense amount of PPE waste it has created, a need has been identified for reusable PPE that is also safe. Used PPE is generally labeled as infectious or offensive waste. Proper disposal of infectious waste and offensive waste is vital to prevent the transmission of disease to a wider group of people.
- Infectious Waste – contaminated with bodily fluids
- Offensive Waste – contaminated but not infectious
- Municipal Waste – similar to household waste
How to Manage COVID Waste & PPE
On a global scale, there are several different methods of destroying waste. For infectious waste, typically burning through incineration at high temperatures is necessary. Typical PPE Waste disposal methods include:
- Burn at Medical Waste Site – Incineration at high temperatures for infectious clinical waste
- Landfill Disposal
- Burn in the non-hazardous waste facility – Incinerators that burn the waste in a facility other than a medical waste facility
- Recycled – Companies like TerraCycle can recycle some PPE but not PPE with medical waste
Incineration for PPE is a great option for waste management. Generally in the US, medical waste has to be incinerated by a medical waste site. However, this does vary by county and city. PPE waste can be reduced by 98% into sterile ash in just minutes or hours by using Firelake Manufacturing incinerators. Plus, there are several afterburner options to meet emission standards.
Let Firelake Be Part of the Solution
Firelake Manufacturing has incineration equipment that can make an impact and provide solutions to some of the biosecurity and medical waste problems that our country and the world are facing with the Coronavirus. Please contact us at 800-820-3391 or get in touch with a local dealer to discuss your medical waste needs and which incinerator will do the job.