Treatment and Reutilization of Medical Waste


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 O

2 o Gasification (produce syngas w/o

) combustion) 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

Outputs: o Steam o CO

2 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!