Microwave Disinfection of Medical Waste

At MERI’s (Madison Environmental Resourcing Inc) Wisconsin-based facility, microwave disinfection technology treats medical waste.

MERI’s three large microwaves shred and disinfect infectious waste and sharps to a fraction of their size.

This environmentally safe process ensures the compliant destruction of sharps and other biohazard materials while saving valuable landfill space.

After going through our machines, what starts as a cartful of biohazard materials looks like confetti. This shredding results in about 80% less volume than when it came to us.



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Treated and shredded medical waste


Check out our Cradle-to-Grave Disposal Video to See Our Microwaves In Action

Microwave Technology

One of the significant advantages of using microwave technology is that it provides an extraordinarily high level of disinfection.

Operating microwave unit at touchscreen

As the material travels through the sealed system, grinders shred, and steam injectors heat the waste to approximately 95° Celsius (203° Fahrenheit). Then, the microwave further heats and dries the waste. All the while, the physical and chemical characteristics of the materials change, keeping harmful pathogens from entering our air, water, and solid waste streams.

Throughout the process, machinists monitor the microwave systems. Additionally, a spore test is done on the machines after every 90-100 hours of operation to ensure the devices do their job of disinfection.


Microwave Best Practices

Our microwaves work best when shredding sharps and infectious waste like gloves and swabs contaminated with blood.

They don’t like heavy gauge metal. Things like ball pins, surgical hammers, and titanium joints throw a wrench into their works.

Also, towels and linens are not a friend to our microwaves. Instead, we send these items off for incineration rather than through our microwaves to keep things running smoothly.  So, if you have any of these items, please package them up separately for our collection team.