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  3. samedi 3 septembre 2005
POST 00830E : DESTRUCTION OF PLASTIC SYRINGES Follow-up on Posts 00819E and 00824E 3 September 2005 _____________________________________ This posting contains four contributions. Although posted late due to translation constraints, as the campaign in Côte d'Ivoire is over, they are of great interest for anyone concerned with similar problems. The first is from Ville Lehto ( from Finland. The second is from Bibata Paré ( from Burkina Faso. The third is from Anil Varshney ( from India and the last from Sridharan R. (?) ( from India as well. More contributions on this topic are to be published in a few days, not to make postings too heavy. _____________________________________ Cher Godiskine, I saw your question about incineration of plastic syringes on TechNet21 post. I’m sorry that it took this long to answer, but I have been extremely busy lately. Unfortunately my level of French is so low that I have to reply you in English. If I understood right, you have an intention to incinerate the plastic syringes in an incinerator that is used to produce electricity from pressed seed fibers, and you would like to know whether it is suitable for burning syringes. Here are some answers to your questions: Temperature: The optimal temperature for incineration of plastics is 850°C-1150°C. Below 800°C you will produce dioxins and furans which are very harmful and persistent pollutants that accumulate in the food chains. Furthermore, reaching the 850 C is not enough, but you have to keep the flue gas at that temperature at least 2 seconds. On the other hand, when the temperature rises above 1150°C the NOx emissions (nitrogen oxydes) rise significantly. Calorific properties: The properties of the syringes and safety boxes vary a bit according to the manufacturer and the used materials. As the mass you are going to treat is quite heterogenic, it is not easy to define the exact calorific value. You should find out all the materials and their mass proportions used in the incinerated products. I'm not aware of the calorific values of the seed fibers, but they might be different from the combination of syringes and safety boxes. Smoke: There are two factors that determine the emissions: process balance and the input (fuel + waste). If the process is in good balance (temperature, residence time…) for the particular waste, the results are clean. If it is not in balance you will create emissions. What are the chemical properties of the smoke depend on the input. Reaching the balance is not simple. If there is variation in the characteristics of input, you either have to create a wide tolerance for the process, or control the process parameters. This is not easy to do. For us it took three years of extensive testing to find the balance. If you have any questions, or you are interested in getting more information, please feel free to contact me (you may reply in French)! You can find more (in French too) in our website Bien des choses, Mr. Ville Lehto Marketing Manager Mediburner Ltd -------------------------- Hello Godiskine, I do not know if it is a good thing to destroy health-care waste in a food processing factory, even though the temperatures might be adequate. We had a similar campaign in 2004, covering the whole of Burkina Faso, but we sought help from a local foundry. This company is melting metals for the production of carts, rails, ploughs, etc... Furnace temperatures can reach up to 1000°C ­ 1500°C. We had no problems at all because the foundries were far away from the city and had adequate measures for the collection and transformation of the residues. As for the plastic, it was reduced to ashes. The resulting smoke from incineration was undoubtedly hazardous. Although Ido not know the composition of the smoke (sorry I am not a chemist), I believe it should be held far away from food products. I am sure in RCI you could find high-temperature foundries that do not deal with food products, which will be willing to help you with the destruction of this waste. I trust Mr. Adama Sawadogo could advise you on this. All the best and good campaign! Pare Bibata, Logistics Burkina Faso --------------------------- Dear All Anthony and Bharat have pointed out real issues in large settings. I wish to offer here some simple, practical, doable, cost effective but debatable and tested practices at the point of use. At the point of use, ie site where the immunization is being undertaken, where the volume will be small. Options : 1. Defang/ cut the needles with suitable device. 2. Store the metal needles in a container 3. These collected needles can be melted and reused after collecting them from various sites 4. The plastic AD syringes could be stored and sent to a bigger place for shredding them into pieces - recycling. 5. The AD syringes could be simply burnt - in a small tin box - I have tried this in Andhra Pradesh in 2001. The syringes burnt without smoke and no smell (BD soloshot), the ash content was very low, which was burried in pit. 6. Even if the number is small, it burns fully ( I shall try to recover the photos and share with Technet members). 7. Syringes could be burnt in the safety box itself without the addition of any new burning material 8. But burning them in a tin box is better as it would eventually save paper (boxes are made of paper) and thus the wood and ultimately trees. (I had calculated some time back the trees to be cut for supplying 1 card board box for 1 district in a year - I would share this info soon) as the syringes burn fully in the tin box getting adequate air supply for burning. (unless too many are stuffed leaving no air space). By destroying the needles and syringes at the point of use adds to following : 1. Reduces the storage space of used needles, (space is precious). 2. Reduces the chances of needle injury and contamination to staff and workers. 3. No cost of transportation (unless shredding and recycling of plastic is required - the economics need to be calculated as many times the cost of transportation is going to be more than what is going to be achieved). In health sector with limited resources this must be considered. (storing and shredding is viable in large volume settings). 4. Precious wood and trees would be saved by not using the card board box for burning. 5. Manpower time saved to concentrate on healh delivery. 6. The atmospheric pollution would be very minimal as the quantities are small. 7. The infrastructure and cost is minimal ( 20 cents for tin box, 1 cent for a match box,and 1/2 old newspaper). 8. Easy to implement. 9. Minimal training required and no skills needed Regards, Anil Dr Anil Varshney Healthcare Consultancy Services New Delhi India ------------------------- While I agree with Mr.Bharat K. Sharma that recycling is a the best option, in a country like India, how to get the used AD syringes to the recyclers? In fact, once I undertook a visit to one such plastics recycler in Dharavi Area in Mumbai, India- I got an answer from this plastic scrap dealer cum recycler that he is ready to pick up free of cost by truck from any where in India, provided any agency is ready to give him "a couple of truck-loads" of used AD syringes which are of high quality plastics! The recycler even took me around his makeshift factory used for shredding all types of plastics, which are given to manufactures of plastic buckets, mugs, etc. With simple logistics, how to get a sizable percentage of used syringes form the 10 million syringes that are going to be used in a country like India- Can anyone suggest ? Thanks Sridharan R Program officer, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) New Delhi 110003. India ______________________________________________________________________________ ________________________ Visit the TECHNET21 Website at You will find instructions to subscribe, a direct access to archives, links to reference documents and other features. ______________________________________________________________________________ To UNSUBSCRIBE, send a message to : Leave the subject area BLANK In the message body, write unsubscribe TECHNET21E ______________________________________________________________________________ The World Health Organization and UNICEF support TechNet21. The TechNet21 e-Forum is a communication/information tool for generation of ideas on how to improve immunization services. 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