Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Jul 23. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-22113-w. Online ahead of print.
Healthcare waste (HCW) management is a challenge for establishments that generate this type of waste, especially hospitals, as they are one of the largest generators. A determining factor in waste management is the amount of waste generation, which must be used for management planning. This study aims to compile and evaluate information on the management of HCW generated in Belo Horizonte’s (located in Brazil) hospitals declared in their respective Healthcare Waste Management Plans (HCWMP) sent for approval by the municipality’s Superintendency of Urban Cleaning. Therefore, a comparative analysis of the hospitals’ generations in relation to their characteristics (nature, specialty, and size) was carried out, using the Kruskal-Wallis statistical test with post hoc in Nemenyi. For the study hospitals, a generation rate of 7.18 (6.17-8.23) kg·bed-1·day-1 was estimated, a generation rate close to that of developed countries. When comparing the generation according to the specialty of the hospitals, it was identified that the maternity hospitals (9.00 (7.05-10.90)) kg·bed-1·day-1 had a significantly higher generation rate than the low-complexity hospitals (4.75 (3.28-6.18)) kg·bed-1·day-1. It was also possible to demonstrate that the specialty and size of hospitals influence the structure available for waste storage. Finally, it can be observed that there are few treatment alternatives, with incineration and autoclaving being the technologies most commonly used by hospitals. It is expected that the results presented can serve as a reference for waste managers, in a context where there is little shared information on the subject.