POST 00700E : GLASS SYRINGES DISPOSAL
Follow-up on Post 00696E
24 July 2004
Two contributions were received on this topic of glass syringes disposal
following Philippe Jaillard's request (Post 00696E). The first is from
Chambard-Benalleg (mailto:[email protected]
Solution to this problem isn't obvious. Would there be for example glass
artists who could use such glass waste? The idea comes to me from the
example of grey ebony in Central Africa. It is more or less a waste from
industrial forest exploitation. I was told one day in the Congo that it was
given to sculptors who transform it into beautiful sculptures. It helps
them earn their living too. The second is from d'Anthony Battersby
) from the United Kingdom. Anthony attached a
picture to his contribution.
This situation is also a problem for developing countries. We are faced
with mountains of glass vials (vaccines, ampoules and serums), which can
not be destroyed using the currently available means (incinerators). Some
countries do have plastic recycling facilities, but what about recycling
glass on a large scale? Currently we keep on piling up these wastes, or in
the worse case, we bury them.
Consultant for Logistics
Health and EPI
Your question is a good one. My first question is why on earth would you
buy a pre-filled presentation, it is the most expensive way of buying
vaccine, the most bulky and the hardest to dispose of. If you want single
dose buy single dose in a vial. In my experience if you burn the glass
syringes the piston will be destroyed (it is plastic) and the needle may or
may not come out, it has a plastic seal to the glass (see attached
picture), but that is all. The sort of waste in the picture could be safely
buried if you have somewhere to bury it. It could also be swept up and put
into a safety box and sent to the municipality if the municipality has a
system for handling potentially hazardous waste. It would not be a good
idea to just sweep it up and put it straight into a municipal skip.
There is also a problem when the pre-filled vaccine requires
reconstitution. I have seen the following practice. draw up the diluent
with the pre-filled syringe and then express the reconstituted vaccine into
the diluent vial and draw it into a new conventional disposable to inject.
This is done for two reasons, nurses are worried that the needle will be
blunt having drawn up the vaccine and they often find the pre-filled
syringes too small and fiddley to use for injecting. So they use the pre
filled syringe a conventional syringe and two needles for a single injection!
There is no answer other than to say, buy vaccine in a presentation that
you can cope with. Pre-filled is designed for rich countries where staff
costs are an issue, where waste disposal systems are allegedly good, and
where vaccine cost is not a prime issue (eg in UK where right now people
are willing to pay GBP 120 for a single dose of mumps vaccine).
So avoid the problem and buy your vaccines in the appropriate presentation.
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