- ACT Environmental Services has released its Microwave Disinfection System which can process most medical waste including sharps.
- The hazardous waste is shredded and disinfected in a multi-step process that reduces volume by about 80%. The byproduct can then be disposed as standard solid waste in landfills or be used as feedstock for waste-to-energy facilities.
- The company says this system is the first of its kind in California and has received all necessary permits to begin processing regulated medical waste.
According to a recent research report, the medical waste management market is expected to increase from $10.3 billion in 2015 to $13.3 billion in 2020. Treatment and disposal is expected to make up the largest share of the market, while incineration is projected to be the fastest-growing disposal option during this time period.
In a sign of this trend, Stericycle is trying to double its incineration capacity at a new facility in Utah. The company hopes to process 18,000 tons of medical waste at the site per year. Some are happy that the new facility would be farther away from residential areas, but the company is still dealing with fallout from recent toxic emissions violations.
While the World Health Organization estimates that 85% of medical waste is non-hazardous, companies are seeing potential in that remaining amount. As people live longer and the healthcare industry expands globally there will be plenty of material in need of processing. The role of new technologies, such as ACT's microwave system, can be expected to grow as a result.