Medical Waste Management Market: Overview

According to the report, the global medical waste management market was valued at US$ 15.3 Bn in 2020 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 6.2% from 2021 to 2028. Medical waste is waste generated from healthcare and medical facilities. The release of biological hazards and chemical gases into environment can have disastrous effects on the wellbeing and health of general population. The services and solutions within the global medical waste management market offer a safe method for disposal of medical waste in order to prevent its hazardous effects on human health. Rise in awareness about effective and safe management of medical waste is anticipated to propel the global medical waste management market in the next few years.

Initiatives by Governments and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to Manage Medical Waste to Drive Market

Medical waste management is a critical issue worldwide. In order to ensure safety from hazardous medical waste, several government organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are constantly working toward proper management of medical waste. Several non-government organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) are stepping in to help hospitals and other health care facilities to collect, recycle, and dispose of medical waste.

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For instance, Intervol, a New York-based NGO, is engaged in collecting unused medical supplies. It encourages health care facilities to recycle such unused supplies and reduce cost of their disposal.

Intervol also distributes wastes to local, national, or international organizations that need the medical waste stream for various purposes.

Shift Toward Off-site Waste Disposal Methods

On-site and off-site treatment methods have been in focus in the global medical waste management market in the last decade. Until 1997, on-site incineration, disposal, and treatment of medical waste were highly preferred, usually by large waste generators (> 63%), while off-site disposal techniques were mostly preferred by small- and medium-quantity waste generators (> 80%). However, launch of regulatory authorities such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1998 and enforcement of new policies and regulations regarding use of on-site incinerators, approvals for on-site disposal, and other policies have led to a gradual shift from on-site treatment methods to off-site treatment methods.

Moreover, new services such as route-based and mail-back services introduced by market players have led to a shift of waste management to off-site treatment methods.

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Non-hazardous Waste Segment to Dominate Market

In terms of nature of waste, the global medical waste management market has been bifurcated into non-hazardous medical waste and hazardous medical waste. Medical waste is mostly generated through various disease treatments and diagnostics. Of the total waste generated from healthcare activities, around 85% is non-hazardous.

According to the WHO, in 2018, around 16 billion injections were administered globally and that need proper as well as effective processing for safe disposal. Hence, rise in the need of safe disposal of injections to avoid health crises augments the global medical waste management market.

Non-infectious Waste to be Highly Lucrative Segment

Based on waste type, the global medical waste management market has been classified into sharps, infectious & pathological waste, radioactive waste, pharmaceutical waste, and non-infectious waste. This can be attributed to increase in geriatric population and enforcement of regulations to manage medical waste substances.

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Large Quantity Medical Waste Generators Segment to Lead Global Market

In terms of waste generator type, the global market has been split into large quantity medical waste generators and mid & small quantity medical waste generators. The large quantity medical waste generators segment has been segregated into hospitals and pharmaceutical & biotechnological companies. The hospitals segment is categorized into public hospitals and private hospitals.

The mid & small quantity medical waste generators segment has been divided into clinics & physician offices, retail pharmacies, ambulatory surgical centers & long term care centers, laboratories, academic & research institutes, blood banks, and others (veterinary, mortuary and autopsy centers, home healthcare, military & government, nursing homes, tattoo parlor). The laboratories segment has been bifurcated into pathological laboratories and diagnostic laboratories.

Preference for Off-site Services

Based on service type, the global medical waste management market has been split into on-site and off-site. Stringent regulations and increase in burden of medical waste generated per bed increase the outsourcing of the waste management process, which, in turn, boosts the growth of the off-site segment.

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North America to Lead Global Market

In terms of region, the global medical waste management market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America dominated the global medical waste management market in 2020, owing to stringent regulations on medical waste management, high awareness among the population about the safety and risk concerns related to the possible bio-hazards, and rise in per capita healthcare spending. Europe was the second largest market for medical waste management in 2020 due to presence of large number of pharmaceutical & biotechnology industries, rise in prevalence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer among the population, and stringent regulations for the protection of environment.

Competition Landscape

The global medical waste management market is fragmented in terms of number of players. Key players in the global market include Stericycle, Republic Services, Inc., Veolia, US Ecology, Inc., BioMedical Waste Solutions, LLC, Clean Harbours, Inc., Waste Management, Inc., Sharps Compliance, Inc., Daniels Health, BWS Incorporated, and Alba Services GmbH & Co. KG.

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