Posted on: 15 May 2020
Since the COVID-19 epidemic, fewer companies want to deal with their hazardous waste on-site. This is particularly true of the healthcare industry disposing of medical waste. The WHO has advised hospitals to treat medical waste in the same way they were pre-pandemic. But faced with a high spike in waste and concerns over health risks, hospitals are seeking out alternative hazardous waste management solutions.
The trend towards the outsourcing of hazardous waste management is expected to grow across all industries. Outsourcing allows hazardous waste management specialists to focus on investing in low environmental impact disposal methods. Industry, for its part, should be asking waste management companies how they are treating hazardous waste.
Hazardous Waste Growth
Many industries incinerate much of their hazardous waste. Untreated with emissions technology, thermal treatments release harmful emissions and particulate matter into the air. The displacement of industrial, healthcare, municipal, and other hazardous waste streams to specially designated landfills poses many of the same risks of general landfills. Chemicals and toxins can then contaminate ground, drinking, and surface water.
The value proposition of waste management firms is not only about waste removal, but waste removal with a low environmental impact. The amount of waste involved is not incidental. The US produces 7.6 billion tons of industrial waste annually. About 15 percent of the waste generated by the healthcare industry is considered hazardous. This hazardous waste—infectious, toxic, and radioactive materials—has dramatically increased during the pandemic.
Clean Waste Technologies
Many alternative clean waste management technologies exist or are under development. Much of the PPE, including COVID-19 masks, and other hospital waste is going to incinerators with pollution control equipment. This long-used system captures dioxin and furan emissions while reducing waste significantly.
Bioremediation using microorganisms to break down organic compounds is a safe alternative. Biological enzymes are used in hazardous waste spills and contamination. Bioremediation is being applied to hospital plastics and various industrial wastes.
Biomining is an exciting new area. Microorganisms are used to not only remediate mine sites but also extract the minerals, in place of highly polluting smelting and other methods. Scientists say this technology could one day be used to clean up distant planets and make them habitable for humans. But for now, they are busy on another job: scrubbing industrial waste of metals.
By using waste management techniques with a low environmental impact, hazardous waste management solutions providers are providing tremendous value added to the industrial generators of this waste. Various industries can then report their sustainable waste management practices to interested stakeholders. Learn more about hazardous waste management by contacting services like Ohana Environmental Construction Inc.Share