COVID-19

COVID-19: SUEZ mobilised to treat infectious biomedical waste

The treatment of infectious biomedical waste is an essential element of the fight against COVID-19. Our teams are working hard in areas including France, the Netherlands, China and the Middle East.

The waste produced by hospitals has grown markedly in the areas most affected by the virus, and it is vital for this waste to be treated under the best health and safety conditions. SUEZ has developed specific expertise in this field. Our teams have been heavily involved in this aspect of the fight against Covid-19 for several weeks.

In France

SUEZ operates seven energy-from-waste plants equipped with facilities for receiving and treating infectious biomedical waste, with an annual global volume of over 30,000 tonnes. At the moment, biomedical waste includes large volumes of waste infected with the coronavirus, such as masks, protective gowns and all healthcare textiles (compresses etc.). They are heat-treated at combustion temperatures of 1000 to 1100°C, eliminating bacteria and viruses.

In response to the current situation, the Group has extended the operating and delivery shifts at its Sausheim (Haut-Rhin) plant in Grand Est, one of the regions most heavily affected by the coronavirus, which is facing a 40% increase in the volume of biomedical waste for treatment.

In the Netherlands

SUEZ serves about fifty hospitals and healthcare facilities and collects specific hospital waste. We also collect hospital waste from emergency departments and "care hotels". Quantities have increased by 30 to 50%, mostly because our customers' personal protective equipment is treated as contaminated. The hospital waste collected is incinerated at Zavin, the only hospital waste incinerator in the Netherlands, in which SUEZ has a 33% stake.

In China

SUEZ operates a hazardous waste plant in Nangtong, in the province of Jiangsu. It is equipped with an additional line for treating infectious biomedical waste, with capacity for 3,500 tonnes/year.

Over the last two months, we have also received 300 kg/day of special medical waste related to Covid-19 (i.e. medical waste that may be infected with the virus). This waste is sterilised and then shredded using special equipment. After treatment, the waste is sent to a local waste-to-energy plant.

In the Middle East

In Dubai, SUEZ Middle East Recycling is the leader in the infectious private-sector biomedical waste collection market. We are seeing a steep rise in the production of this type of waste. Our teams are working day and night to treat the waste – before the crisis, collections only took place during the day.