Waste not, want not
Waste minimisation and recycling are two distinct processes necessary to reduce the impact of waste on the environment. Waste-management specialists need to offer a complete solution with a range of fully integrated, end-to-end waste-management solutions
Averda is one such company. In 2016, it established its South African operation through a number of acquisitions. Averda South Africa draws on the company’s global expertise and experience to offer a full range of waste-management solutions – from on-site solutions to landfill management and disposal.
Averda South Africa’s range of services fall within a number of portfolios – general and hazardous waste collection, on-site waste management, specialised industrial cleaning, pipe inspection and analysis, landfill management and healthcare waste management.
Averda Healthcare Waste Solutions partners with healthcare professionals to assist the company in its efforts to deliver superior care.
Heidi Ford, Averda’s national operations and compliance manager – healthcare, gives insight into Averda’s entry into the South African market. “In selecting a competent healthcare waste service provider, clients need to consider all the factors that lead up to their decision, considering that the decision is not only about the signing of the contract, or the acknowledgment of price.
“Ideally, clients should focus on their specific needs and the solution offered to accommodate both present and future requirements, which may grow from a small, entry-level service offering to a holistic and integrated waste solution.”
Naturally, compliance is key. Ford explains: “All individuals exposed to hazardous healthcare waste (HCW) are potentially at risk of being injured or infected. They include: medical staff, nurses, hospital maintenance personnel, employees in a support services role, employees in waste disposal facilities, patients (and their visitors), as well as the general public. Also at risk are children or ‘tip-pickers’ who come across items they find in the waste outside the healthcare facilities when it is directly accessible to them.”
Therefore, compliance with the basic principles of separation at source into the correct containers, and transport to the correct, licensed/permitted destruction facilities is paramount when working towards achieving the objectives of protecting people and minimising direct impacts from environmental exposures to healthcare waste.
Averda is actively tackling challenges head on. “Despite the Waste Act and various regulations and standards already in place, there is still draft legislation in the process of being finalised. Regulations differ, in some cases from province to province, which does cause confusion.
“Possibly the biggest challenges facing the industry include the lack of awareness with regard to the health hazards, and the insufficient funding that departments in facilities choose to spend on waste management,” says Ford.
“The management of healthcare waste requires increased attention in all areas. Averda offers various technologies to ensure cost-effective management, and a range of options that can be tailor-made to suit budgets, as well as short- and long-term needs,” she adds.
“More and more facilities are making their decisions not based solely on a financial overview. They are also including their technical, health and safety and infection-control teams. Decisions are being made based on a long-term relationship with the service provider.”
As Ford explains, separation of waste at source through training is paramount, and waste minimisation, re-use and recycling are critical. “However, this tends to become difficult in an environment such as healthcare, where the waste is high risk, personnel are busy, facilities are understaffed and the focus is rather on patient care, which it should be.
“Averda is moving forward to maximise the entire range of processes and activities in the management and disposal of waste through the selection of optimal resources and methods – ‘a total waste-management solution’.
“This service ensures that the environmental impact is minimised in the “life” of waste – “from cradle to grave.” In order to manage and minimise the amount of waste that is transported, treated and placed in landfills, Averda can introduce on-site management teams,” she concludes.