Australian-first technology for safe, cost-effective and eco-friendly medical waste management

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Australian-first technology for safe, cost-effective and eco-friendly medical waste management

Medical waste poses a significant challenge in Australia, with almost 47,000 tonnes produced in 2020.1 The pandemic exacerbated the problem, causing a 100-fold increase in medical waste production at some sites.2 With Australia’s growing and ageing population, medical waste volumes are only likely to increase.

Current medical waste management practices are outdated and unsustainable. They contribute to pollution and fossil fuel consumption and are associated with public safety risks such as contamination from stored waste. To meet sustainability targets while managing capex budgets, hospitals need waste management solutions designed for the 21st century.

That’s why Hipac is thrilled to introduce Sterilwave to Australia. Designed and developed in France, this United Nations award-winning solution uses unique, cutting-edge technology to effectively process medical waste while protecting public health and the environment.

Microwave technology for effective sterilisation

Every day, each hospital patient generates between 0.2 and 1kg of infectious waste, which is difficult and expensive to treat and remove. Sterilwave combines shredding with microwave sterilisation to rapidly disinfect waste up to 8log10.

Sterilwave generates electromagnetic waves which heat waste to 110°C. This destroys bacteria in just 30 minutes and evaporates large amounts of liquid to produce compact, inert and dry general waste that can be recycled, repurposed or sent to landfill.

Its technical capabilities mean Sterilwave can process almost any type of waste, including plastics, glass, textiles, organic materials, infectious waste and metal objects such as sharps.

Cost-effective onsite waste management

Most medical waste is currently transported offsite for treatment using refrigerated trucks to control bacterial growth and odour. Hundreds of tons travel many kilometres (even crossing state borders), contributing to the 7% of carbon emissions attributed to healthcare in Australia.3 This practise contradicts the World Health Organization’s directive to process infectious waste near where it is generated. Rising fuel costs also make it increasingly untenable.

With Sterilwave, medical waste can be rapidly processed onsite at a fixed price, thereby reducing:

  • cost uncertainty related to fluctuating commodity markets
  • carbon emissions from waste transport
  • risk of waste build-up due to transport disruptions
  • contamination risks associated with waste storage.

Versatile and easy to use

Sterilwave is available in four sizes to process up to 20kg, 50kg, 88kg or 180kg of waste per hour. The easy-to-use equipment requires only 5 to 10 minutes of operator time per cycle. Waste is loaded into a single vessel. Once the cover is secured and parameters set using an intuitive touch screen, it completes the grinding and sterilisation process automatically.

Safeguard workers

With no need to segregate waste for treatment, safety risks are reduced. Sterilwave is also equipped with operational safety controls, including:

  • automatic power level adaptation
  • double measurement of tank temperature
  • permanent microwave power control
  • protection of the microwave generator by isolator.

Environmentally friendly

Traditional waste management solutions pose unacceptable environmental risks. For example, inadequate incineration can release toxins and ash residues into the air. Autoclaving uses vast amounts of water and releases contaminated water into the sewerage system.

As sustainability becomes increasingly important in healthcare, waste management solutions must adapt for facilities to meet environmental targets. With its eco-friendly technology, Sterilwave uses less water and energy and produces zero effluent or emissions, while reducing waste weight by up to 25% and volume up to 80%.

Waste processed by Sterilwave can also contribute to circular economies. In Europe and South America, it is used to manufacture plastic products, building materials and as a filler material in cement.

Contact Us: 1800 75 93 93

www.hipac.com.au/sterilwave

1. Geoff Latimer, 22 October 2021, “Hazardous Waste in Australia 2021”.

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