BioBin – new packaging for clinical wastes?

The BioBin by TerraCyclic is “the only sanitary bin that can be serviced by yourself. The unique and patented product has a cartridge system where it is as simple as replacing the current cartridge when needed

Proposed for a wide variety of applications including clinical waste disposal, the BioBin comprised an outer rigid sleeve with disposable one-piece liner that has an integral flip lid. Capacity ranges fro 6.5 to 26 litres.

The outer sleeve is available in a range of colours to facilitate colour-coding of waste streams, and is available  for floor or wall-mounting. It is claimed that the streamlined outer cylinder saves space, looks smart and is easy to install and service – all important criteria for selection. It is also claimed to be “The first sanitary disposal system to be awarded the UK carbon footprint seal of approval”.  The criteria for this seal of approval are not made clear, and with the complexity of manufacture of the composite disposable component it is hard to comprehend how this might beat the plain sack in its traditional sack holder.

However, the BioBin certainly looks good, but some of the key claims are unconvincing.

  • It can reduce the risk of cross infection and odour due to the buildup of waste matter to the underside of standard unit lids and chute areas.

    How much waste accumulates on the inside lid of conventional sack holders? Actually, none at all.

  • Very low risk of cross-infection or contamination due to complete cartridge change.

    The design appears to incorporate a hand operated lid. It may only require a light touch, but it does require a touch. That virtually guarantees contamination of hands, necessitating gloves removed after use of the BioBin. Now, take of the gloves and wash your hands, but what to do with the gloves? Its a Catch-22! 

  • Minimum contact with easy flip lid

    When cross-infection is the problem, minimum isn’t good enough!

Design developments are overdue, to replace the use simple plastic sacks for clinical wastes. Outwardly, the BioBin is an attractive step forward. Assuming that the integrity of the waste holder – sack plus lid – is suitable robust, leak-proof and compliant with UN packaging requirements then for many applications the BioBin looks great.

But for clinical wastes, or indeed for any other application where there might exist a risk of hand hygiene failure and cross-infection then it is hard to see how the BioBin can be fit for purpose. If the product could incorporate foot operation, then this would alleviate concerns of any hazard associated with potential hand contamination and cross-infection.

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