Medical waste refers to the waste generated in healthcare institutions such as hospitals, physician’s offices, clinics, dental hospitals, veterinary clinics or hospitals, blood banks, and medical research institutes, laboratories, or facilities. This waste may include solid waste that is generated during diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, during the testing or production of biologics or any research pertaining thereto. The definition of medical waste is therefore not limited to blood soaked bandages, discarded surgical instruments, or culture dishes and other glassware.
The global market for medical waste management stood at US$14.5 bn in 2012. Rising at a CAGR of 4.8% between 2013 and 2019, the market is expected to reach US$20.1 bn by the end of 2019.
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The waste generated from medical institutes can be categorized into four major segments, vis-à-vis general waste, infectious, hazardous, and radioactive. “Approximately 80% of the medical waste generated every year consists of papers, plastics, and other materials that very similar to the waste generated in households or offices,” said a lead TMR analyst. He also added that the remaining 20% to 25% of the waste generated comprises bioactive waste such as cultures, used syringes, stocks, blood-soaked bandages, expired medicines, and others, which are equally hazardous to the environment and human health alike.
For the purpose of the study, the market for medical waste management has been segmented into collection, processing, and disposal based on activity. Of these, the collection segment accounted for the maximum share in the market in 2012, followed by the disposal and processing segments. In terms of the overall quantity of medical waste generated, the report bifurcates the market into large quantity generators (LQGs) and small quantity generators (SQGs). Of these, LQGs held the largest share in the market in 2012. However, the report projects the SQGs segment to exhibit a higher CAGR over the forecast period.
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Regionally, North America held the largest share in the global medical waste management market, trailed by Europe. Both these regions are anticipated to retain their position in the market through the report’s forecast period. Favorable government regulations mandating efficient disposal of medical waste will drive the market for medical waste management in North America and Europe. In Asia Pacific, countries such as New Zealand, Australia, and Japan exhibit the most lucrative prospects for the waste management market. However, emerging economies such as India and China are yet to be tapped by medical waste management players to their complete potential due to the lack of awareness about medical waste management services and the absence of proper government regulations supporting the spread of the market. In the Rest of the World region, South Africa, Israel, Turkey, Mexico, and the UAE have emerged as the most lucrative markets for medical waste management.
To study the prevailing competition, the report also profiles some of the most prominent companies operating in the market, such as Republic Services, Inc., Waste Management, Inc., Stericycle, Inc., Clean Harbors, Inc., Suez Environment SA, Veolia Environmental Services, and US Ecology, Inc.