Located in the rural Garden Route District, George Hospital had to make a trip of 450 kilometres five times a week to transport infectious waste for processing to a Cape Town medical waste treatment plant. This was not only burdensome, but also generated a significant carbon footprint. The sharps waste also needed to be incinerated with a consequential environmental impact.
Faced with this problem, Michael Vonk, the George Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, and his team decided to apply the Proximity Principle of Waste Management by procuring and installing medical waste treatment equipment on-site to deal with hospital infectious waste at the point of generation. The new equipment allowed for the mechanical destruction of the waste by using sterilising heat.
In addition to reducing the environmental cost of operations, this new treatment facility has allowed for the safe treatment of COVID-19 waste on-site rather than incinerating it as was previously the case.