14 May 2020

Envomed 80, the solution for treating COVID-19 waste sustainably

Medical waste treatment methods around the world need to change – or we risk causing continual harm both to public safety, and to the environment as well.

Until now, hospitals have almost exclusively opted for off-site solutions to their medical waste treatment, as existing on-site solutions have not been good enough.

Most countries still use giant off-site unsustainable, high energy consumers with dramatically high carbon footprint incinerators rather than the traditional existing on-site solutions which are based on heat treatment.

The Envomed 80 however, is about to change all that. Bringing to market a scientifically-driven, on-site solution capable of treating up to 80 liters of sharps and infectious medical waste in just 15 minutes, the Envomed 80 is about to revolutionize the world of medical waste treatment.

 

How has COVID-19 impacted medical waste treatment, and how is Envomed responding?

We’ve found that the COVID-19 outbreak has increased the urgency with which hospitals are seeking a suitable means of treating their medical waste quickly on site. This is primarily for three reasons:

  1. Lack of mobility. With cities closed or at the very least severe travel restrictions in place, it’s become incredibly difficult and unsafe to try to transport medical waste-off site.
  2. Of course, hospitals do not want to have COVID-infected waste hanging around untreated on-site either, making the situation even more urgent.
  3. The pandemic has meant a huge increase in infectious waste generation, which has exacerbated the problem and increased costs.

As the Envomed 80 is validated to support the STAATT level IV it is fully compliant to treat COVID-19 in both forms of solid and liquid infectious waste. A non-compromise game changing solution for on-site infectious waste treatment, the Envomed 80 has made it easier for hospitals to lay aside their conservative mindset and be positive towards the necessary change.

Envomed has moved quickly to respond to the developing situation.  Pilots in Asia-Pacific countries, South America and more will start soon and an installation in Israel is in progress.

 

Why is effective medical waste treatment so challenging?

At the root of the problem is the fact that medical waste includes both solid and liquid phases and the mix and volume of each varies from batch to batch. This makes the sterilization process impossible to validate.

Liquids present some unique challenges. Liquids take longer to sterilize than other media since liquids have a high heat capacity. As opposed to solids, liquids take a lot longer to heat up and cool down, and as a result the total cycle time is increased dramatically.

Autoclaves, for example, need to remove all air due to possible hollow spaces inside a load. In the case of solids, steam is the sterilization medium and must penetrate inside the load and make contact with all surfaces, which is why all air must be removed. If air were to remain inside the load that would compromise the steam’s ability to reach all surfaces of the load.

Liquids, which have no hollow spaces, are sterilized as the steam causes their temperature to rise. Therefore, while there is no need to remove the chamber air, liquids instead require a longer treatment duration to ensure they reach at least 135°C for 20-30 min. Such long durations (>20min) at a peak temperature of 135°-141°C and under pressure can only be supported by heavy-duty off-site autoclaves.

The fact that the liquid quantity is unpredictable and can vary from batch to batch necessitates a longer sterilization program time. (Not 10-30 min sterilization). Additionally, as autoclaves do not offer a temperature indication for the liquid phase, the user has no real visibility of the actual liquid phase temperature during the sterilization cycle.

 

How does the Envomed 80 solve these problems?

The Envomed 80 solves these issues completely, by performing the entire disinfection process in a liquid phase, using a liquid disinfection solution diluted in water.

The solid waste is shredded to a confetti shape which is mixed vigorously with the disinfecting solution together with the waste-liquid phase.

Therefore:

  • Liquids pose no problem
  • There is no need to remove the air from the chamber
  • No extreme temperatures, pressure and vacuum are used
  • There is no pause in between cycles – the next cycle may start immediately
  • The Envomed80 offers fully validated and reproducible sterilization results.

The Envomed 80 unit offers fully comprehensive validation using both the solid and liquid phases of real infectious waste, including the presence of protein, hemoglobin, carbohydrate, lipids and insoluble fibers.

The Envomed 80’s Sterilization process consistently demonstrates a 6 LOG10/ml bacterial spores’ reduction, which complies with STAATT level IV, according to the ISTAATT guidelines (both in the liquid and solid phases). Currently, the Envomed 80 is the only on-site medical waste treatment technology approved by the Israeli Ministry of Health due to the above comprehensive validation requirements.

 

Envomed 80, the solution for treating COVID-19 waste sustainably | The Switchers

Soroka University Medical Center of the Clalit, is the second largest hospital in Israel A tertiary center with approximately 1,000 hospital beds, Soroka provides medical services to over one million residents of the region.

Envomed has already started the global medical waste treatment revolution, ensuring that if COVID-19 or any other pandemic will return, hospital’s waste management systems will be ready for it. Visit www.envomed.com today to see how you can be part of the solution.

You can find out more about Envomed and how they partnered with SwitchMed for success in The Switchers Envomed story

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