Current State, Development and Future Directions of Medical Waste Valorization

Yin Ting Chu, Jianzhao Zhou, Yuan Wang, Yue Liu, Jingzheng Ren

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated medical waste has urged the improvement of sustainable medical waste treatments. A bibliometric analysis is initially conducted to investigate scientific development of medical waste management to pinpoint the publication trends, influential articles, journals and countries and study hotspots. Publications on medical waste and its management sharply increased since 2020. The most influential article was written by Klemeš et al., and “Waste Management and Research” is the most productive journal. India, China, the United Kingdom, Iran and Italy have published the most works. The research spotlights have switched from “human” and “sustainable development” in 2019 to “COVID-19” and “circular economy” in 2021. Since government acts essentially in handling medical waste and controlling disease transmission, rule implementations among the abovementioned countries are summarized to seek gaps between scientific advancement and regulatory frameworks. For accomplishing a circular economy, waste-to-energy technologies (incineration, gasification, pyrolysis, plasma-based treatments, carbonization, hydrogenation, liquefaction, biomethanation, fermentation and esterification) are comprehensively reviewed. Incineration, gasification, pyrolysis and carbonization are relatively feasible methods, their characteristics and limitations are further compared. By holistically reviewing current status of medical waste research, the focal points involved in management at the policy and technical level have been highlighted to find proper routes for medical waste valorization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1074
Number of pages28
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • biomedical waste
  • circular economy
  • clinical waste
  • healthcare waste
  • medical waste
  • thermochemical processes
  • waste management
  • waste-to-energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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