As the incinerator debate continues, advanced on-site medical waste sterilization technologies are a clean and cheaper alternative. These technologies can cleanly and safely treat infectious and contagious medical waste while providing immediate cost savings for Utah’s hospitals.
On-site treatment at hospitals also prevents trucking unsterilized infectious “red bag” waste through neighborhoods and communities, thus preventing possible accidental spills and exposure. Further, universal adoption of modern on-site treatment across the west would virtually eliminate the importation of any infectious medical waste into Utah.
In March 2012, a government study submitted to Congress demonstrated that on-site programs to manage infectious medical waste are less than half the cost of outsourcing while reducing carbon emissions. In addition, preferred modern on-site systems utilize the latest “advanced technologies,” including: touch free design for worker safety; high density compactor, which means fewer trucks on our roads; monitoring systems for infection control; and cost effective modular designs.
We care about on-site treatment of medical waste because the benefits of advanced technologies include operational sustainability in an emergency, greater infection control, safer communities, and lower carbon and other emissions. There are alternatives and solutions to dealing with medical waste — aside from incineration. The legislature and local hospitals just need to step up and address the solutions.
Darrell Henry, Executive Director
Healthcare Coalition for Emergency Preparedness