Medical Waste Management Industry: a neglected and growing public health problem worldwide

Continuously expanding healthcare industry supported by growing population with geriatric population in particular has led to the generation of substantial amount of medical waste, each year, over the world. These medical wastes have been categorized into four major types, namely, infectious, hazardous, radioactive and general wastes. Of these infectious, hazardous and radioactive medical wastes being potentially risky to human as well as environment are required to be disposed of with special caution. General wastes which are similar to common domestic and official wastes and do not require special treatment. There are a large number of companies that offer waste management services to healthcare facilities seeking help for medical waste disposal. The medical waste management market was valued at USD 14,541.5 million in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 20,130.1 million in 2019, growing at a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period 2013 to 2019.

Collection, processing and disposal are three major services offered by medical waste companies. Collection constituted the largest segment of the overall medical waste management market with a revenue share of 54.5% in 2012. However, during the forecast period 2013 to 2019, processing segment has been anticipated to grow with the fastest CAGR mainly because the industry is witnessing a rise in demand for non-incineration technologies for waste treatment. Healthcare facilities have been grouped into large quantity generators (LQGs) and small quantity generators (SQGs), based on the amount of medical waste generated. The market for medical waste management is witnessing a continuous rise in the revenue generated from SQGs. It is primarily because most service providers are focusing their attention towards the SQGs as they offer higher profit margin than LQGs and are also easy to target.

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Geographically, North America held the majority share of the overall medical waste management market, followed by Europe that accounted for the second largest share. These two regions are expected to retain their position throughout the forecast period 2013 to 2019. Governmental regulations mandating proper disposal of medical waste across North American and European countries has been considered as one of the major factors driving market growth in these regions during the forecast period. In Asia-Pacific region, Japan, Australia and New Zealand are the major markets that offer immense opportunities to waste management companies operating in this market. However, in countries like India and China, the market is highly untapped owing to low awareness level and due to lack of strict governmental regulations. In Rest of the World (RoW), Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Israel, Turkey and UAE are the major markets where medical waste management market is expected to record maximum growth.

Stericycle, Inc., Waste Management, Inc., Republic Services, Inc., Veolia Environmental Services, Suez Environment SA, Clean Harbors, Inc. and US Ecology, Inc. are some major companies providing various waste management services to healthcare facilities seeking help for waste disposal.

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