Treatment and Reutilization of
Medical Waste
CHBE446 Team 2: Heather Cook, Savannah Green, Mike
Wellen, Dave Weglein
Market Analysis
Current Uses
Process Outline
Safety Considerations
Concluding Remarks
What is medical waste?
According to the EPA: “Any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis,
treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research
pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals”
o Plastics, textiles, PVC
o Biological material/waste
o Glass (syringes)
o Dressings
How is it regulated?
Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988
o Cradle to grave tracking system
o Management standards for segregation, packaging, marking, labeling,
and storage of medical waste
o Record keeping requirements & penalties for mismanagement
Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal
o Drop box/collection sites, mail-back programs, syringe exchange
programs, at home needle destruction devices
Specific state regulations
o For MD regulations, visit
Is there a market for it?
o Hospitals, doctors offices, medical research facilities
 Seeking ways to cut costs
o Several billion pounds of waste generated each year
o Market for the products
o Get paid to take the inputs
Current Uses (I)
Company - Environmental Energy Resources
Uses “Plasma-Gasification-Melting” (PGM) technique
o High conversion of waste to syngas, steam, and solids
o Pyrolysis and gasification
o Plants in Russia and Israel
Current Uses (II)
Company - Energy-Inc
o Pyrolysis (decompose organics w/o O2)
o Gasification (produce syngas w/o
o Heat/energy
o Syngas: 1,885,000 MMbtu/year
o Biochar: 9,125 tons of biochar annually
o Electricity: 22,000 kWh
Our Goals
Switch from disposal to utilization
Sterilize and recycle waste
o Optimize the process to reutilize as much waste as possible
Create a cost effective process
Save money, preserve landfill space, follow regulations
Overall Inputs/Outputs
Inputs: (~10 tons/day)
o Gauze (99% collagen)
o Plastic (syringes)
o Gloves (latex)
o Needles
o Steam
o CO2
o Possibly the syngas itself
o Organic fertilizer
General Steps
Separate waste in specified containers (completed by medical facilities)
Pick up waste and deliver to reutilization facility
Send to reactor to turn into syngas
Send to Thermal Residence Chamber, which keeps the gasification going
and brings to equilibrium
Go through a heat recovery steam generator
Clean gas with APC equipment and send to be sold or combusted
Process Flow Diagram
Unit Operations
Heat exchangers
Safety and Environmental Considerations
Personal protective equipment while handling waste and equipment
(goggles, mask, etc)
Specified containers for different types of waste
o Proper labeling
Sterilization of product before reuse
Controls in process
Regulation of outputs
Caution - high temperatures and pressures
Takeaway Points
Proper disposal of medical waste has been regulated since 1988
Hospitals demand more cost effective waste treatment techniques
o Emphasis on reusing the treated waste
Medical waste can be turned into useful, profitable products such as
steam, syngas, and fertilizers
Thank you!

Treatment and Reutilization of Medical Waste