Autoclaves Produce Objectionable Odors When Used to Process Biohazardous Waste

Autoclaves are widely used in healthcare for the sterilization of medical instruments.  The technology is also used in for treating Regulated Medical Waste (RMW).

The process of sterilizing medical instruments begins with a wash to remove any organic material on the instrument.  When the instruments are subsequently sterilized in the autoclave chamber, there is no organic material to decay and emit odors.

However, when employed for the treatment of Regulated Medical Waste, autoclave technology is widely known for emitting extremely objectionable odors because RMW contains significant amounts of organic material. 

During the processing of medical waste steam is injected into the processing chamber of the autoclave and waste is essentially cooked in a vacuum to sterilize it.  Assuming no cold spots remain in the waste under treatment, the sterilization process kills bacteria but volatile organic compounds remain in the autoclave chamber and are released into the atmosphere upon opening the chamber resulting in the objectionable odors that people find offensive.

Red Bag Solutions’ patented Steam, Sterilization and Maceration (SSM) technology kills all organisms placed in the process tank in a bath of superheated water and steam in a totally enclosed system. All odor causing organisms are killed and subsequently discharged, along with offensive odors, in sterilized water via the sanitary sewer.

Facility operators accustomed to autoclave odors are truly impressed by the lack of offensive odors when using SSM technology to treat RMW.


What users of SSM technology have to say about the odors associated with treating bio-hazardous waste:

“…In fact, the room where the SSM operates shares a common wall with our hospital kitchens.  It is not necessary to provide any special ventilation of filtration for the SSM processing room due to the total absence of unacceptable odors.”

Environmental Services Manager, Hospital

“ (We have) been using the Red Bag Solutions SSM technology for approximately fifteen years to process regulated medical and animal wastes.  The SSM is located immediately adjacent to  administrative spaces and we are pleased to say that we can operate the unit during normal business hours with absolutely no problems whatsoever because the SSM does not produce any unacceptable odors.

Facility Manager, National Research Laboratory