Medical waste Waste that is generated in providing healthcare services is dangerous if it has one or more of the properties below:
- Pathological waste: detached human body parts – amputated limbs, tissues, or organs removed during surgery, tissues removed for diagnostic purposes, placenta, foetuses, laboratory animals and their body parts.
- Infectious waste: waste containing pathogens that can due to their type, concentration, or count infect the people exposed to them – cultures and stocks from microbiological laboratory, equipment parts, material and stocks that came into contact with the blood or secretions from patients with infections, or that was used in surgical procedures, wound dressing and autopsies, waste from the isolation ward, waste from the dialysis unit, I.V. supplies, gloves and other disposable stocks, and waste that came into contact with laboratory animals inoculated with infectious material, etc.
- Sharp objects, needles, blood lancets, syringes, scalpels, and other objects that can sting or cut.
- Pharmaceutical waste: includes pharmaceutical products, medications and chemicals returned form the units where they had been spilled, scattered, prepared but not used, or they are expired, or they have to be discarded for any other reason.
- Chemical waste: discarded solid, liquid or gaseous chemicals used in medical or diagnostic procedure or experiments, cleaning or disinfection. It is divided in hazardous chemical waste – toxic, corrosive, flammable, reactive and genotoxic substances, and inert chemical waste with no such properties.
- Pressurised vessels: bottles with insert pressurised gases mixed with active substances (antibiotic, disinfectants, insecticide, etc.) that are applied in the form of aerosols, and which can explode if exposed to high temperatures.
- Radioactive waste: subject to special regulations.
With the above hazardous waste generated in healthcare facilities, inert medical waste is also produced. It is not dangerous, its composition is similar to municipal waste, and it is produced in the kitchens, restaurants, offices, etc. It is disposed of like the municipal waste because it is not a result of medical procedures, and it does not pose a threat to the health and environment.
Waste from the production of TiO2 and PCT
Titanium dioxide or titanium(IV) oxide (TiO2) is produced substance used as the highest quality white pigment in the production of coatings and paint, photo-catalysts, and a wide range of personal care products (such as, for example white toothpaste), cosmetic products (sunscreen, lipstick, soap, etc.) because it is nontoxic, i.e. inert
In the form of nanoparticles, which are nowadays used in the products that come into direct contact with the skin (such as sunscreen or mineral makeup), it is becoming more widespread as the substitute for the substances that are considered to be carcinogenic and/or to cause hormonal imbalance.
However, by reducing the size of titanium dioxide particles it is becoming more active, and in accordance with the studies it has been proved that the nanoparticles (particle size from 1 to 100 nm) of titanium dioxide settle in the human cells (because of its size, there are no processes to remove it from the body) and they can cause single-strand and double-strand DNA breaks.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council and the Ordinance on waste management from the production of titanium dioxide, collectors, and authorised persons are prohibited to:
- release production waste into the marine environment, which also includes digging into the seabed, i.e. submerging the waste,
- dispose of production waste on or in the ground, and
- deep-inject production waste into the ground.
WASTE POLYCHLORINATED BIPHENYL (PCB) AND POLYCHLORINATED TERPHENYL (PCT)
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polychlorinated terphenyls (PCT) (hereinafter: PCBs) belong to a large group of synthetic organochlorinated compounds that mutually differ in terms of physical-chemical and toxicological properties because they have the tendency of bioaccumulation and biomagnification in the environment and in the food chain. Due to this, people can be exposed to PCBs through contaminated (polluted) water and food (fish, meat, and dairy products, etc.).
PCBs are solely synthetic compounds that started to be produced commercially in 1929 as dielectric liquids and oils for heat transmission (thermal oils) due to good insulation properties and stability at high temperatures. They have never been used as individual compounds but always in the mixtures of several chloro derivatives, most often in the production of transformers and capacitors.
Scientific research so far indicates to various negative effects of PCBs on human health because their presence in the human organism can cause different disorders, such as endocrine homeostasis, reproductive toxicity, various tumours, etc.
The equipment containing PCBs (hereinafter: equipment) is any equipment and device that contains or that contained PCB, such as transformers, capacitors, containers with residual PCBs and similar, and which have not been decontaminated. The equipment which may contain PCBs is handled as if it contains PCB, unless the decontamination in its production and maintenance, or the analysis of an accredited laboratory proves that it does not contain PCB.
It is prohibited to:
- discharge PCB or waste PCB into the environment,
- fill or top up the transformer with PCB,
- separate PCB from other substances for their reuse,
- incinerate PCB or waste PCB at sea,
- temporarily store PCB, waste PCB, or equipment containing PCB, for a period longer than 12 months before decontamination or disposal procedure,
- produce, place on the market and use PCB separately, in the products or as a component part of products, except for the application pursuant to Article 4 of the Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 April 2004 on persistent organic pollutants and amending Directive 79/117/EEC (OJ L 158., 30.4.2004.)
Waste textile and footwear
Waste textile and footwear have valuable properties and can be reused, or materially or thermally used.
In general, waste textile and footwear come from municipal waste and the process of manufacturing textile products.
Waste textile management in the Republic of Croatia is implemented according to the basic principles of the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 2008/98/EC), and it is harmonised and regulated under the Act on Sustainable Waste Management (OG 94/13) and the relevant subsidiary regulations.
According to the provisions of the Act on Sustainable Waste Management (OG 94/13), waste textile and footwear are considered to be special category of waste so according to the Act, the units of local self-government are obliged to ensure separate collection of waste textile and footwear in their territory and to provide the functioning of one or more civic amenity sites (recycling yards), and to place an adequate number and type of containers in the public areas (bring banks) for collecting this type of waste, thus ensuring further recovery.
Proper and safe waste textile and footwear management preserves the environment and human health, energy and water resources, it significantly reduces the burden on the landfills, opens new jobs, and stimulates the economy. Reuse and recycling provide ecological and economic benefits.
The drawing up of the Ordinance on the management of waste textiles and footwear is under way that should elaborate on and regulate this matter.