Biomedical Waste : Maabarot Metal Works pioneers sustainable solution for Covid-19 related biomedical waste

trash throw throwing away recycle bin mask masks discarded medical face garbage virus corona waste flu risk protect hand dirty trash throw throwing away recycle bin mask masks discarded medical face garbage virus corona waste flu risk protect hand dirty
© Andrey Popov -

Treating Covid-19 usually entails the use of multiple types of plastic gear, including surgical masks, medical gowns, face shields, safety glasses, protective aprons, plastic shoes as well as gloves. Many of the items mentioned are produced from single-use plastics. These are not biodegradable and liable to contaminate marine environments, threatening to entangle and subsequently suffocate wildlife living in aquatic areas.

Envomed 80, an Israeli on-site machine, promises to tackle said problem. In less than twenty minutes, one machine can shred up to 250 kilograms of waste per nine-hour shift, serving about 350 hospital beds. The hazardous waste is then converted into a non-toxic residue that can be disposed of as municipal waste.

On-site medical waste treatment solutions such as this one are handy, considering that even well established players in the global medical waste management sector such as Veolia Environmental Services, Stericycle and Waste Management Inc. are now struggling to deal with the influx of medical waste generated by the pandemic. The conversion of detritus into municipal waste also avoids incineration, a common enough option when it comes to disposal of medical waste, but one that also causes the emission of dioxins and furans, considered human carcinogens, as well as the release of toxic metals such as lead and mercury into the environment.

Up to date, innovations in this field were hampered by the fact that hazardous waste, which comes in both liquid as well as solid form, cannot be treated collectively via heat treatment methods. Chemical disinfection-that is, the addition of chemicals to effectively neutralise microbes and toxins- has been the go-to process when handling liquid waste in the form of blood, excreta or hospital sewage, a processing option that is less effective when it comes to disinfecting solid medical waste products such as microbial cultures.

It’s a challenge Envomed is set to dismantle.

“We have a liquid and solid separator where the liquid will go directly to the sewage, because at that point it will dissolve into water, oxygen, and acetic acid, so it’s totally eco-friendly. The solid product will later be dried, leaving a confetti-shaped municipal-grade waste product,” says Envomed CEO David Segev.

The capacity of the on-site machine to eliminate all live pathogens also does away with the need for off-site management. Considering that pre-treatment on site is usually necessary before biomedical waste can be transported off-site, Envomed in this sense helps kill two birds with one stone.

The Envomed 80 is already beginning to revolutionize the world of on-site medical waste treatment with pilot projects in Asia-Pacific Area as well as South America next to its local market in Israel.