How to Dispose of Hospital Waste With Autoclaves

Those who work in the healthcare industry have definitely Googled how to dispose of hospital waste with autoclaves at least once. Read on to find out the answer to this popular question!

How Does an Autoclave Dispose of Hospital Waste?

Compared to incinerators, autoclave machines use steam to sterilize hospital waste. This is why they are also known as “steam sterilizers” – pressure cooker-like machines that dispose of medical with the use of high-pressure and high-temperature steam.

The temperature of this steam can reach well over 100 degrees Celsius, enabling autoclaves to kill all manners of foreign materials present in hospital waste, including heat-resistant bacteria. The hospital waste that was present in the autoclave’s chamber will be completely sterile, and can then be disposed of like regular waste, without any risk of contamination to medical staff or patients.

Therefore, the steam sterilization process relies on the autoclaves’ ability to raise the boiling point of water up to 134 degrees Celsius. The fastest models can sterilize a load in about 20 minutes.

In hospitals, anything that qualifies as red bag waste is autoclavable. This includes:

  • Bandages, gauze, and needles are exposed to infectious materials (such as blood or human tissue).
  • Plastic tubing, pipettes, and Petri dishes used in experiments
  • Personal protective equipment used during the treatment of patients used surgical gloves

How Did the Disposal of Hospital Waste with Autoclaves Become one of The Most Popular Methods?

It’s no wonder why so many medical facilities look up how to dispose of hospital waste with autoclaves. Compared to incinerators, autoclaves are:

  • much more in line with international environmental standards, since they emit zero harmful substances
  • less expensive and much cheaper to operate
  • much easier to install, as they require less time and less available space to be incorporated into a hospital’s waste management system
  • and much more practical to use, as they require no previous technical qualifications

As such, autoclaves have become one of the most popular on-site disposal methods for hospital waste. With the high cost of on-site incinerators, many facilities employ the services of waste removal companies, but this also comes with high transportation and handling costs, since the waste is still infectious up until it is destroyed.

By knowing how to dispose of hospital waste with autoclaves, you can greatly reduce the risks of infection on-site, since you will be able to sterilize your own waste almost as soon as it is generated.

How to Choose the Best Autoclave to Dispose of Hospital Waste

If you want to learn how to best dispose of hospital waste with autoclaves, you also need to know what can best suit the needs of medical facilities. There is a clear winner within the healthcare industry – these are the so-called class B or vacuum autoclaves.

While autoclaves are also present in other facilities – such as tattoo parlors – hospitals need all the help they can get to ensure all kinds of materials can be treated appropriately. Class B autoclaves are the most versatile – lower-class models are mostly used to sterilize flat medical tools, while vacuum autoclaves can also treat textile items, porous materials, as well as bagged and unbagged items.