able improvements to the minimum approach

from each area of a facility, waste items are segregated into separate containers, each container is weighed and the

weights produced are compared against the number of patients or beds in use. Data collection for a period of a few

days provides limited information and may not accurately reflect weekly or seasonal variations. Data collection

for a month or longer and repeated at different times in the year provides a more accurate picture and a better

understanding of the quantities of waste generated in individual parts of a facility. For waste minimization, a

breakdown of the amounts of recyclable materials is needed. In addition to calculating average rates, information

regarding the spread of the data (data range or standard deviation) is important. An example of a data-collection

form is given in Table 2.4. Instructions to data collectors should include worker safety, such as using personal

protective equipment and avoiding physical contact with infectious items.


Minimum approach to overall management of health-care waste

All personnel dealing with health-care waste should be familiar with the main categories of health-care waste as set

out in either national or local regulations on waste classification. As a minimum, managers responsible for health-

care waste should conduct a walk-through of the facility to identify the medical areas that produce waste, to obtain

an initial estimate of the types and quantities of waste generated, and to understand how the waste is handled

and disposed of. A rapid assessment, combining observations with interviews and survey questionnaires, should

provide sufficient data to identify problems and begin the process of addressing them



Beyond the minimal requirements, health-care facilities should adopt an organized approach to waste

characterization to obtain accurate data. This approach is necessary to develop or improve the waste management

system in use. Undertaking a formal waste assessment entails planning and preparation. From a systematic

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