PPE kits provide a complete head to toe protection against various hazards. But PPE kits themselves have started posing a danger to the environment. Recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increased use of PPE kits for protection against the infection. These kits have added up largely to the biomedical wastes, and their disposal has become a big challenge for a sustainable environment. Here is a quick guide on how to dispose of the PPE kits hygienically.
What Does A PPE Kit Constitute?
PPE kits are of various types depending on their application and the field in which they are used. They protect from chemical hazards, electrical, biological and biochemical hazards as well. A typical PPE kit consists of
- Eyes protection: Goggles and safety glasses
- Face protection: Face shields
- Respiratory protection: Face masks
- Head protection: Helmets, hard hats, bouffant caps
- Hand protection: Gloves
- Hearing protection: Ear-plugs, earmuffs
- Body protection: Isolation gowns, jackets
- Foot protection: Boots and shoes
So many types of protective equipment are used by multitudes of people. When these equipment are disposed of, there is a considerable rise in the biomedical wastes.
Disposal Of PPE Kits
It is necessary to ensure that when you dispose of the protective equipment, they do not release the contaminants in an open area, where they could cause harm. Coronavirus has increased the use of PPE kits by healthcare workers and even the general public for maximum safety from infection. Everyone needs to understand that medical waste must not be dumped with general waste. Improper disposal of such equipment would impact the terrestrial and marine ecosystem. Burning of the protective equipment was sought to be the best option as high temperatures kill the virus. Also burning of kits would reduce the number of residues left. Incineration of PPE kits generates much CO2 emissions. It is said that incineration of one tonne of PPE kits generates around 3,814 to 3,816 kg of CO2. To absorb so much of CO2, it would take 100 trees at least a year long.
Still, for medical PPE kits, incineration seems to be the best option as the burning of kits would end the germs attached to it preventing the spread of infection. Incineration is done in two ways- centralized incineration and decentralized incineration. Centralized incineration has a shortcoming as the waste has to be handled by various people at different stages, increasing the risk of the spread of infection.
Every country is trying to figure out the best ways of disposing of the protective equipment while causing decreased harm to the environment.
However, every protective equipment requires an appropriate disposal procedure depending on the material it is made of and the hazard that it protects from.
A few examples of how to dispose of the various protective equipment are discussed below.
- When you wear a PPE kit to protect from standard contaminants like lead, clean the equipment before disposing of it. Cleaning is necessary to remove the heavy metal. After cleaning it well, it is neatly disposed of to prevent groundwater contamination.
- Disposal of a medical PPE kit in the hospitals must be done in the identified infectious waste bag/container.
- Used up masks at home must be disinfected using an ordinary bleach solution or sodium hypochlorite and then disposed of by burning.
Proper disposal of protective equipment is as essential as it’s used to protect from the hazards. Make sure you do not give way to a new hazard while staying protected from another hazard. To buy good-quality protective equipment, visit https://www.ppezones.com