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WASTE MANAGEMENT


4,000,000 3,500,000 3,000,000 2,500,000 2,000,000 1,500,000


1,000,000 500,000 0


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Year


Figure 1: Development of the AKH Vienna’s waste fractions.


the medical sector, laying out detailed instructions on how to treat medical waste from hospitals, care facilities and laboratories. In order to assure practice- oriented regulations, various experts contribute to this standard: representatives of the Ministry of Environment and the waste industry, microbiologists, hygiene experts, and physicians. The Austrian Ministry of Environment


regularly publishes the ‘Federal Waste Management Plan’ with information about waste quantities and developments in Austria. The last plan showed an increase in the total volume of waste produced by about 13%. One of the targets of the plan is to sensibly steer waste streams. This means, separately collecting exploitable materials and passing them on to useful recycling, passing on the separately collected hazardous waste to an environmentally sound treatment and trying to avoid waste production in the first instance.


Medical procedure developments Progress in the development of medical procedures and products is rapid. This also alters waste streams and quantities. Changing hygiene regulations along with increasingly efficient staff deployment result in a higher usage of disposable materials. Previously, suction systems for body fluids, for example, were made from glass that could be emptied and processed for re-use. Today, mostly single-use disposable plastic products are used, which need to be disposed of after use. These systems, filled with body fluids, however, cannot be treated as residual


IFHE DIGEST 2017


waste. New procedures in medical diagnosis and therapy, also have an effect on the quantity and variety of waste. Previously, organs destined for transplantations were only transported chilled. Now, there are specially designed containers that are able to transport organs for transplant along with fluid. These are often quite large containers and they need to be correctly discarded along with the fluids. A university clinic such as the AKH


Vienna sees a large variety of research and teaching tasks taking place in laboratories. Some of the resulting waste types have to be treated using specialised methods. There are also types of waste that have to be pre-treated at the hospital before being passed on to disposal. This includes microbiologic and virologic cultures, or specific dangerous pathogens. Waste management at the AKH


Vienna, therefore, requires many different tasks and decisions to be made every day in order to correctly dispose of the waste. There are economic considerations too, depending on the type of waste. The cost for disposal, for example, can vary significantly for different types of waste and in addition to measures such as assessing compliance with waste


regulations, regular monitoring and consulting, can help to optimise waste management. Monitoring includes assessing the waste’s quality and, if necessary, applying the right corrective measures. AKH Vienna employees receive regular training by VAMED-KMB experts which aims to motivate them to adopt environmentally friendly behaviour. VAMED-KMB organises the collection


and transport of waste at the AKH Vienna. When collecting waste, it is essential that it is separated according to its future processing. This means, that the highly diverse types of waste that make up the 15 tons of waste produced every day have to be fed into an organised collection and disposal system. An essential tool for organising waste


management at a hospital is tracking the accruing types and quantities of waste. This development allows issues to be highlighted and suitable measures to be taken, whose results can then be monitored. The 2015 figures, for example, give a clear impression of the AKH Vienna’s waste streams and their development. The waste fractions’ development from 2000 to 2015 shows a nearly constant increase in waste quantities (Figure 1).


Besides the large quantities of waste that is produced by the hospital, there is also a wide range of waste types that have to be collected separately


45


n Residual medical waste n Recyling waste n Hazardous medical waste n Hazardous waste


kg


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