Track: IE / OM in Asia
The significant increase in the generation of medical waste in recent years has raised many concerns worldwide. This work aims to determine the environmental impacts produced by the different technologies used for the recovery of medical waste as part of waste management (incineration and pyrolysis), thermal treatments considered effective for the decontamination and sterilization of infectious medical waste. The Leopold Matrix was applied to evaluate in quantitative terms the environmental impacts of each of the processes. For this purpose, the interactions of the physical, biological and socioeconomic elements were established with each of the stages of the waste management treatment processes, which were evaluated using the results of a literature review. In the physical aspect, the negative impact of soil, air and water contamination was considered; in the biological aspect, the damage caused to flora and fauna; and in the socioeconomic aspect, the risk of spreading diseases; despite the generation of employment and contribution to the economy. The results showed that both waste management treatment processes are polluting; however, pyrolysis scored higher, reflecting that this process generates less negative impacts than incineration. This research is a starting point for further research into new methods of medical waste management that are environmentally friendly and efficient.