At the peak of the pandemic, there were 115 aged care facilities in Victoria with active cases of Coronavirus. Many locations were disposing of 1-2 wheelie bins weekly and increased to more than 12 bins a day. This COVID-19 waste included single-use masks, gloves, eye protection and gowns. That’s nearly a 100-fold increase from the year before.
Now imagine the sheer volume of health waste disposal necessary across all segments of health and medical-related industries. Not to mention quarantine facilities and border check-points.
Where does that medical waste go?
When it comes to where medical waste goes, alternative treatment landfill methods, whilst approved, have limitations. Heat treating clinical can reach temperatures of approximately 150ºC, which is high enough to destroy bacteria but not all pathogens. Dangerous pathogens can lie dormant in the earth after being disposed of in landfill with the risk of leachate leaking into our waterways.
Inadequate and improper handling & disposal of contaminated PPE waste may have serious public health consequences. Correct disposal prevents the risk of transmission of disease to the wider community.
How to dispose of COVID-19 waste
The most effective way to dispose of COVID-19, clinical & related waste is using high-temperature incineration!
Ace Waste has two operational waste facilities in QLD & VIC, along with a fleet which is specifically designed for the collection and disposal of clinical & related wastes, especially in regards to COVID-19 waste.
Ace Waste plants utilise a process called high-temperature incineration. Throughout this process, all of the waste including any pathogens are completely destroyed, ensuring no further spread of viruses or disease.
Since July 2020, our dedicated frontline team has shifted operations 24/7, diverting approximately four & a half million kilograms from landfill. During the tireless hours, none of our team tested positive for COVID-19.
The Australian COVID-19 vaccination program will soon commence. Beginning in February 2021, priority groups and frontline healthcare workers will have access to the delivery of the vaccine. Following this, the vaccine will be rolled out to the remaining population over a 6 to 12-month period.
Next steps for COVID-19 waste disposal
At present, waste management coordinators are correlating waste management strategies for vaccination commencement. Given this short window of time, it is critical that providers in the medical industry prepare now in order to avoid a ‘waste emergency’.
I invite any waste managers in the medical industry to reach out and speak with an Ace Waste representative. Our specialised team are your risk mitigators, allowing you to devote your time to patient care by providing you with a comprehensive waste management solution. We can help you maintain your compliance with State regulations and increase your efficiencies without you having to resort to drastic organisational changes.