The global award in photography and sustainability

Taryn Simon
Infectious Medical Waste Treatment Center, Sanitec Industries, Inc., Sun Valley, California Shredded, microwaved, disinfected medical waste awaits transfer from Sanitec Industries, Inc. to the Simi Valley Landfill. The U.S. produces between 600,000 and one million tons of medical waste each year. To guard against the spread of infectious disease and to limit waste, hospitals and clinics incinerate several tons of infectious waste annually. Alternative waste treatment technologies that do not involve incineration minimize environmental harm. Sanitec’s microwave disinfection system shreds and sanitizes infectious medical waste, thereby destroying pathogens and reducing the waste’s volume by 80 percent. Sanitec employees receive vaccinations against Hepatitis B and Tetanus and are periodically tested for Tuberculosis. When a needle prick occurs while employees are handling the waste, a post exposure emergency control plan goes into effect. The average wage for medical waste technicians is $12 per hour.

Series: An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar
Chromogenic color print
94.6 x 113 cm
Sun Valley, California