practices need to be improved

assessment, one could:

identify locations in the health-care facility where good waste segregation is undertaken and where segregation


determine the potential for recycling and other waste-minimization measures

estimate the quantities of hazardous health-care waste that require special handling

obtain data to specify and size waste collection and transport equipment, storage areas, treatment technology

and disposal arrangements to be used.

Key points to remember

Between 75% and 90% of the waste produced by health-care facilities is non-hazardous or general health-care waste,

and only 10% to 25% of health-care waste has a hazard that requires careful management.

The distinct categories of health-care waste are sharps, infectious waste, pathological waste, pharmaceutical (including

cytotoxic) waste, hazardous chemical waste, radioactive waste and non-hazardous general waste. Infectious waste

can be further classified as wastes contaminated with blood or other body fluids, cultures and stocks, and waste from

isolation wards. Hazardous chemical waste includes halogenated and non-halogenated solvents, disinfectants, toxic

metals such as mercury, and other organic and inorganic chemicals.

Health-care waste comes from many sources, including major sources such as hospitals, clinics and laboratories, as well

as minor sources such as doctors’ offices, dental clinics and convalescent homes.

A significant portion of non-hazardous, general waste is recyclable or compostable.

Waste generation rates vary widely and are best estimated by local measurements.

Physicochemical characteristics of wastes vary widely and influence the suitability of individual recycling, collection,

storage, transport, treatment and disposal systems.

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