23.4  Methods of healthcare waste treatment and disposal

23.4.1  Steam sterilisation (autoclaving)

Steam sterilisation is one of the most common methods of treatment of waste. It uses saturated steam within a pressurised vessel called an autoclave (see Figure 23.3) at a temperature that is high enough to kill pathogenic microorganisms. Contaminated items or waste should be sterilised for 30 minutes at 121oC at a pressure of 106 kPa. You should note carefully that the timing should start only after it has reached the necessary temperature and pressure.

kPa is the abbreviation of kiloPascal, a unit of pressure.

Figure 23.3  Autoclave in a Health Post. (Photo: Pam Furniss)

23.3.7  Waste storage

23.4.2  Incineration