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Waste Treatment Technology: How to Become Self-Sufficient at Treating Your Medical Waste

26 November 2020 /

Self-sufficiency and efficiency go hand-in-hand. When every additional step or subcontractor involved in a process has the potential to create new inefficiencies, the more ownership an organisation can take over its operations, the more efficiently it can operate.

What does this mean for medical waste disposal?

Healthcare organisations will recognise the need for their medical waste to follow a series of steps before it reaches the end of its life. This process creates multiple points at which inefficiencies can occur. Streamlining or removing some of these steps while staying firmly within the realms of compliance are two ways organisations can improve operational efficiencies while minimising the impact their waste streams have on the environment.

Read on to discover how to become more self-sufficient at treating your medical waste.

Solving self-sufficiency through technology 

The installation of medical waste processing autoclaves or rotoclaves gives healthcare organisations the capabilities to dispose of their medical waste more self-sufficiently and with greater efficiency.

These devices can be surmised as technology that uses steam to disinfect or sterilise equipment, certain waste category streams and other objects used by the medical industry for treatment of healthcare and special waste. They use elevated steam temperature and pressure to destroy all bacteria, viruses and fungi, and inactivate spores (8 log10 Microbial Inactivation).

Autoclaves work either by admitting steam into the top and sides of the sterilising chamber to force air out of the bottom (gravity displacement) or by utilising a vacuum pump/steam ejector to ensure the removal of air from the autoclave chamber and load before the steam is admitted (high-speed pre-vacuum steriliser). 

In the case of a rotoclave design, a rotating internal Archimedes screw within the vessel or a rotating drum mixes the waste, agitating it. The combination of steam and agitation in a rotoclave ensures that all waste materials are completely sterilised. 

How does this technology increase efficiencies across the medical waste disposal process?

Discover how to maximise the efficiency of your end-to-end heat treatment  process.

The benefits of treating your own medical waste

Autoclaving in purpose-built autoclave facilities prior to transportation is a fast and reliable method by which healthcare organisations can treat infectious waste known or suspected to be contaminated with pathogens classified in Category A in the Carriage Regulations. The reclassification of autoclaved clinical waste from hazardous waste to non-hazardous offensive and hygiene waste enables an 18% diversion from high-temperature incineration and can generate cost-savings of over 5% per year as well as other environmental benefits.

The sanitised waste becomes free from the biological activity that may give rise to odour problems, and there is a significant volume reduction of the waste (up to 80%), leading to efficiency in terms of storage, transport and handling of the outputs.

Related read: Making Heat Treatment More Efficient: The Story Behind VFE’s Partnership with RoMan

Investing in safer, more efficient medical waste disposal

VFE is in partnership with Akarmak for the supply, installation, service, calibration and aftercare of Medical Waste Autoclave and Rotoclave equipment for the UK. Akarmak autoclaves are simple and inexpensive to operate, and well-reputed within the industry for their long product life, maximising the value of the initial investment. 

Our commitment to keeping your business running extends here. We offer a range of Maintenance and Calibration Services, including our Standard Service VFE Support Package, a dedicated Autoclave Service, and a UKAS accredited Calibration Service (UKAS Accredited Calibration Laboratory No.4338), so whatever your requirements, we’re available to help.

Other services include Retrofit Solutions, either Complete System Overhauls or the addition of Control Systems.


Medical waste disposal is highly regulated. As such, it must follow a strict series of steps when being treated. These processes are unavoidable, but they can be made more efficient through on-site treatment and sterilisation, in some cases re-categorising the waste, in others improving its end-of-life energy recovery. Medical waste autoclaves or rotoclaves are key to unlocking these efficiencies.

Click the image below to find out more about VFE’s Medical Waste Autoclaves and Rotoclaves products and services.