The Microbiology Behind Reusable Containers in Hospitals


Authors:   Grimmond, T

Publication:   Grimmond T. Using reusable containers for hospital medical waste. ReSource Aug 2009; 3: 12-15.



What is the paper?

Presented at the SA Health Care Waste Summit in June 2009 in Johannesburg, this paper examines the risk of using reusable clinical waste containers. Through analysing the the perceptions and facts behind the utilsation of reusable clinical waste containers for the transportation and handling of health care risk waste (HCRW), Terry Grimmond addresses the common perceptions behind reusable containers and elaborates on the benefits on staff and patient safety, the hospital environment, and needlestick injuries.


What did we learn?

In this article, we are exposed to the perceptions around health care waste risk in reusable clinical waste containers, decontamination efficacy and the chain of infection.

  • Reusable clinical waste containers pose no disease-associated risk
  • Microbiologically monitoring of reusable clinical waste containers is not required 
  • To ensure risk-free use of reusable clinical waste containers, clean using visual and written criteria

Having addressed the risk level and estimated the theoretical risk probability, and coupled these with reported incidence, we can confidently deduce that the risk of disease transmission from reusable clinical waste bins is negligible to nil."



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