As per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all types of waste materials generated by healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals, dental practices, physician’s offices, veterinary clinics or hospitals, and medical research laboratories or facilities come under medical waste. Medical care plays a vital role in the protection of health, well-being, and life of human beings. However, these healthcare activities generate waste which may prove to be very detrimental resulting in infections and diseases in human beings. These risks are being overcome by establishing safety and environmental regulations for the storage and treatment of medical waste particularly within the U.S. This has resulted in the exponential rise of the medical waste management market in the U.S.
Q. What are the recent steps being taken by the government and non-government agencies in the U.S. for the disposal of medical waste?
As per the State University of New York and The Levin Institute, medical waste has emerged as the third-largest source of waste in the U.S. and hospitals have a total contribution of more than 2 mn tons of medical waste yearly within the U.S.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been actively involved in the regulation of medical waste within the U.S. since past many years. A number of plans have been made for proper segregation techniques of medical waste and waste audits have been started to reduce the overall medical waste production in the U.S. In addition, transportation is also being monitored in order to keep a check on the proper transportation of the waste to the facility of disposal. Furthermore, policies are being implemented to gauge the types and volumes of medical waste that are being produced and steps have been implemented to minimize this waste.
Q. What are the key factors propelling and inhibiting the growth of the U.S. medical waste management market?
The increasing aging population in the U.S. is a major factor fuelling the growth of the medical waste management market in the U.S. This is because of the fact that the aging population is more prone to infections, injuries, and diseases. This results in more hospital visits, thus contributing to the medical waste production. In addition, the expanding pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are also greatly contributing to the growth of the market. Furthermore, a number of technological advancements in the market have resulted in new methods of waste disposal, hence augmenting the growth of the market in the U.S.
On the other hand, the increasing focus towards small quantity waste generators and the soaring initial capital investment involved in waste management are the major factors that may restrain the growth of the market.
Q. Which are the key medical waste disposal companies in the U.S? What are their contributions to the market?
The key companies operating in the waste management market in the U.S. are Waste Management, Inc., Stericycle, and XMED Disposal, Inc., among others. Amongst these, Waste Management, Inc. is one of the biggest medical waste management companies in North America and develops new waste solutions. This company serves over 20 mn customers within Canada and the U.S. On the other hand, Stericylce specializes in chemotherapeutic waste disposal in South America and North America.
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