Medical waste is a multi component hazardous waste. Main constituents of the medical waste are plastics, textile and polyvinylchloride (PVC). Medical waste also includes needles, pathological wastes from surgery and autopsy, and pharmaceutical waste.
Traditionally, hospitals burn medical waste in incinerators and then deposit iremains into waste landfill sites. When burned, PVC produces inter alia carbon monoxide, dioxins, and chlorinated furans. The California Environmental Protection Agency has banned the permitting of any new medical waste incinerators since 2001.
Pyrolysis is the efficient method of hazardous waste disposal and recovery of valuable materials. Products of medical waste pyrolysis depend on initial waste content. Pyrolysis and oil recovery from medical waste was proven on commercial scale, mostly as batch pyrolysis. Pyrolysis oil directly from the medical waste pyrolysis facility is used as a fuel for burners, as a fuel for diesel engines (electricity generation), and as a heating oil. Long-term practical experience demonstrated that variations in waste composition determine both oil composition as well as yield of oil.
For the general case we recommend to proceed with pyrolysis facility in accordance with the MPCS scheme. Additionally the pyrolysis facility can be constructed such a way that medical waste can be treated not at the dedicated pyrolysis facility but rather by the direct supply to the existing waste treatment pyrolysis plant, undergoing the pyrolysis along with other waste such as MSW.
Medical waste to be treated by the pyrolysis shall not contain any radioactive materials from hospitals.