COVID-19 Pandemic Generates Monumental Biomedical Waste
The growing healthcare sector has led to a tremendous increase in the quantity of medical waste generation, especially in developing countries. As hospitals, and other healthcare establishments witnessed excessive admissions with the pandemic, biomedical waste is expected to rise at an exponential rate. The amount of medical waste produced in a typical developing country depends on a wide range of factors, chiefly the demographics and the healthcare benefits. Research indicates that it may range from 0.5-2.5 kg per bed per day. For instance, India generates as much as 500 tons of biomedical waste every day while Saudi Arabia produces more than 80 tons waste on daily basis. The global biomedical waste management market is poised to find lucrative opportunities as the prevalence of infectious diseases continues to be on the rise. Growing collection of microbiological waste, human anatomical waste, and animal waste are also expected to drive the growth of biomedical waste management market over the next few years.
Eco-friendly Treatment Technologies to Create Attractive Opportunities
The 2004 WHO policy paper and the Stockholm Convention stated that there is a need to assess the risks associated with the incineration of healthcare waste in the form of heavy metals, acid gases, carbon monoxide, organic compounds, and pathogens. Yet, the predominant medical waste management method in the developing world is either small-scale incineration, or landfilling. Many developed countries are phasing out healthcare incinerators and rather exploring technologies that do not produce any dioxins. Countries such as the United States, Ireland, Portugal, Canada, and Germany have either completely shut down incinerators, or imposed a moratorium on them. Their commitment towards lowering carbon emissions and turning waste-to-energy has prompted the rise of greener solutions, thereby pushing the scope for penetration of biomedical waste management market.
Steam sterilisation remains one of the most sought-after alternative treatment methods. Among alternative systems, autoclaving has the lowest capital cost and can be used to process up to 90% of medical waste. This system can also be easily scaled up to meet the needs of any medical organisation. Microwave treatment is also a promising technology that introduces moist heat and steam generated by the microwave energy. Plasma gasification is one of the best solutions available for sustainable management of healthcare waste. The main product of a plasma gasification plant is syngas that can be converted into heat, electricity, and liquid fuels. Gasification is probably the cleanest, and most eco-friendly alternative option available as of now in biomedical waste management market. However, high facility set-up costs, and massive energy requirements are hampering adoption of this newer technology.
Poor Support Continues to Challenge Biomedical Waste Management Market Growth
The greatest risk to public health and the environment is posed by infectious waste or hazardous medical waste, which constitutes around 15%-25% of total healthcare waste. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year an estimated 16 billion injections are administered worldwide, resulting in a huge number of needles and syringes, which are not disposed of properly after use. In 2015, a joint assessment by WHO and UNICEF found that just over half, about 58% of sampled facilities from 24 countries had adequate systems in place for the safe disposal of healthcare waste.
The outbreak of novel COVID-19 pandemic has put additional pressure on healthcare systems worldwide. In a country like India, the cost for the collection and safe disposal of COVID-19-linked biomedical waste to INR 100/kg as against INR 47/kg for the biomedical waste of non-COVID-19 patients. Additionally, there has been a sharp increase in daily waste generation across the world. Low levels of awareness about the potential health hazards related to healthcare waste, inadequate training related to proper waste management, absence of desirable waste management and disposal systems and practices, insufficient financial and human resources, and overall ignorance will remain the primary concerns limiting the progress of biomedical waste management market in long run.
Recycling All Set to Emerge as a Lucrative Segment
Non-hazardous waste segment accounted for the largest market share in 2019 owing to large quantities generated in healthcare facilities across the globe. WHO reported that about 85% of the total amount of waste generated by healthcare activities is general, and not hazardous. Safety measures to ensure the environmentally-sound management of healthcare waste can prevent an adverse impact on both health and environment in long term. On the other hand, demand for collection, transportation and storage services accounted for the largest revenue share in 2019. Recycling is however likely to be the fastest-growing segment in future, attributing to the emergence of eco-friendly technologies such as plasma gasification. Usually, disposal and treatment of the material are outsourced offsite, which makes this segment account for the largest share in biomedical waste management market.
Western World at the Forefront
Europe and North America have an exponentially rising population of the aged, and stringent regulations for healthcare waste management that work to the advantage of biomedical waste management market here. In 2019, North America accounted for the largest market share, followed by Europe. Biomedical statistics for North America stand at 7-10 kg/bed while Western Europe is at 3-6 kg/bed. Currently, these are the highest daily waste generating regions across the globe. These developed regions will not only dominate due to higher waste generation but also stand to gain as they have a better waste disposal infrastructure in place.
Stericycle Remains in the Bandwagon
Stericycle is one of the leading players due to its strong global presence, and diverse service portfolio. Stericycle offers solutions to medical waste disposal, compliance training, and now COVID-19 vaccination waste disposal management. It has a strong nationwide network of waste collection and transfer facilities, and waste treatment and shredding facilities. The underlying business strategy capitalises on the regulation that mandates proper collection, transportation, and disposal of medical waste.
The other prominent players include Veolia Environnement S.A., Suez Environnement, Clean Harbors, REMONDIS AG & Co. KG, Sharps Compliance, Inc., Waste Management, Inc., BioMedical Waste Solutions, LLC, Daniels Sharpsmart Inc., Republic Services, Inc., EcoMed Services, GRP & Associates, BWS Incorporated, MedPro Disposal, GIC Medical Disposal, Gamma Waste Services, Triumvirate Environmental, EPCO, Casella Waste Systems, Inc., and All Medical Waste Australia Pty Ltd.
The biomedical waste management market is segmented as below:
By Type of Waste
By Treatment Site
Key Elements Included In The Study: Global Biomedical Waste Management Market
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