The developers of a new technology to treat hazardous waste say the Ebola outbreak in west Africa underlines the need for the treatment of medical waste on-site.
Peter Selkirk, chairman of PyroPure, left, the Hampshire firm that has developed the technology, claims the UK is “woefully underprepared” when it comes to hazardous waste disposal in high-risk environments.
“Whilst a widespread UK outbreak of Ebola remains unlikely, the devastation it has caused in West Africa should provide a wake up call to the UK.
“It is too risky to continue the outdated practices of storage of infected hospital waste and its transportation over the highways to incinerators. There are a number of ‘touch points’ through the waste disposal chain where manual handling poses a risk.”
Selkirk is calling on the healthcare sector and its waste contractors to re-evaluate the way in which they dispose of their waste.
“The UK must adopt a smarter approach to the way in which it manages clinical waste; one that not only reduces risks and incidents of infection but also processes that doesn’t leave anything to chance,” says Selkirk.
PyroPure, which uses pyrolysis to destroy waste on-site with energy recovery, is being funded by the Technology Strategy Board to develop the technology and it is being tested at York University. The company says this is the last step before viability for pharmaceutically contaminated waste is approved by the Environment Agency.