Analysing the factors affecting medical waste generation in China

Yanhong Hou, Linlin Jia, Wenting Ma, Jian Li Hao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Medical waste deserves particular attention due to its potential for causing serious damage to people and the environment. Although the factors influencing the generation of medical waste are critical for designing policies aimed at effectively reducing medical waste and improving medical waste management, they have not been extensively studied. The rapid development of China's medical and health services and the sudden outbreak of Covid-19 have brought significant challenges to managing medical waste in China. Therefore, based on panel data from eight cities in China from 2013 to 2019, this study used a fixed-effects model to investigate the influencing factors of medical waste generation (MWG) in China, and tested the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis. The results show that there is a non-linear N-shaped curve relationship between MWG and per capita gross domestic product (GDP); MWG will continue to increase with economic growth, but the growth rate will slow down from fast to slow, and then from slow to fast with economic growth. The analysis also reveals that implementing a tiered diagnosis and treatment policy may negatively affect MWG by reducing the waste of medical resources and thus reducing the generation of medical waste. The positive effect of population size on MWG is also highly significant, so when the aging of the population increases, the generation of medical waste also increases. The three policy suggestions are provided: 1) improve the disposal capacity and efficiency of medical waste; 2) give full play to the advantages of hierarchical diagnosis and treatment policy; 3) improve the management level of medical waste in primary medical institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100975
JournalSustainable Chemistry and Pharmacy
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Aging degree
  • Environmental kuznets curve
  • Medical waste management
  • Primary medical institutions
  • Tiered diagnosis and treatment


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