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Ethanol Production From Surgical Waste Cotton

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In day to day life, management of biomedical waste is quite difficult. Biomedical waste is segregated into four categories like yellow, red, white, and blue. Yellow category contains infectious waste, bandages, gauze, cotton or any other objects in contact with body fluids, human body parts, and placenta etc. In this process surgical waste cotton is converted in to valuable ethanol. Surgical waste Cotton is a natural polymer which contains cellulose. It is sterile using autoclave for killing bacteria and microorganisms. Bleaching process is use to remove the blood stain from cotton. Hydrolysis is use to extract the glucose from cotton through heating source of Hotplate and stirrer. The process of hydrolysis may greatly affect by different factors i.e. concentration of solvent, heating source, and the time duration. Absence or presence of glucose determine by the benedict test. After that Glucose will be convert in to ethanol using ethanol fermentation method and further distillation method to separate the ethanol from the solution. Presence of ethanol will determine by Gas Chromatography (GC).


Health-care waste management in India or around the global is receiving greater attention due to recent regulations. The prevailing situation is analyzed covering various issues like quantities and proportion of different constituents of wastes, handling, treatment and disposal methods in various health-care units. The waste generation rate ranges between 0.5 to 0.2 Kg per day. It is estimated that annually about 0.33million tons of waste are generated in India. The solid waste from the hospitals consists of bandages, linen and other infectious waste (30–35%), plastics (7–10%), disposable syringes (0.3–0.5%), glass (3–5%) and other general wastes including food (40–45%)[6]. In general, the wastes are collected in a mixed form, transported and disposed of along with municipal solid wastes. At many places, the medical industries or the authorities are failing to handle the waste generated from the hospital or does not have proper techniques to handle.

In September, we visited the Rhythm BioCare which is the biomedical waste management industries. It works is to collect the waste from the hospitals, clinics and laboratories and segregate the waste on the basis of their category. The categories are yellow, blue, white and red dustbins. Every category has different types of waste and gets different treatments. Treatments are like autoclaving, shredding, incineration and crushing. From the visit we get to know that some or the small amount of waste goes to municipal landfills and produce land pollution.

Yellow bins are generally use by most of medical practitioners. A yellow colored waste bin indicates several different types of wastes. In yellow bins, there could be human waste, tissues, organs, or bodily fluids. The treatments given to the yellow colored waste bin is incarnation and the ass generated from the incineration goes to the landfills.

The main intense behind this work is to develop the new technique to manage the biomedical waste and reduce the waste going to the landfills. In this technique we are going to produce ethanol from the surgical waste cotton. The process began from collecting the waste cotton from the hospitals. The cotton will be sterile using autoclave then sterile cotton will be goes for further process. Using various methods like Hotplate, Sonication and Microwave cotton will be directly convert it into glucose[1]. For presence of glucose, Benedict’s test will be performed. Glucose will be converting in to ethanol using ethanol fermentation. After getting ethanol, Gas Chromatography (GC) will be performing for analysis of presence of ethanol[7].

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The ethanol have various application like it is use as solvent in manufacturing of the varnishes and perfumes, as a preservative for biological specimens, in sanitizers, as a cleansing agent, as a fuel and gasoline additive. Ethanol, unlike gasoline, is an oxygenated fuel that contains 35% oxygen, which reduces particulate and NOx emissions from combustion.


Autoclaving process

Autoclaving process is use for the sterilization or to kill microorganism and bacteria present on the material. After collecting the waste from the hospitals, cotton needs to be sterilizing to disinfect the cotton. For the autoclaving we are using the hot air oven which is present at Parul University. This process is called the dry heat sterilization. The cotton is kept in the tray of the hot air oven and the temperature is set at 110ºC for 2 hours.

Bleaching process

After the autoclaving process, the waste cotton has the stain of blood and the medicine applied on the patient’s wounds. To remove the stain of the blood from the cotton bleaching method is applied. Cotton is taken into the beaker and the hydrogen peroxide is poured over it. With the help of the glass rod the cotton is stirred into beaker with interval of 2 minutes. The whole process complete within 10-15 minutes.


Hydrolysis is a process in which, chemical breakdown of a compound due to reaction with water. Sometimes, this addition causes both substance and water molecule to split into two parts.


We are introducing new method for converting medical waste cotton into ethanol. From GC analysis, 222.4 PPM ethanol generated. And 222.4 PPM ethanol is widely useful for raw material in ethanol production. In some cases, it is useful for manufacturing in household product as well as paint. Proper utilization of medical waste cotton and it gradually reduces Environmental pollution. Using 10gm of cotton 66ml of ethanol is generated.


  1. Chizuru Sasaki1, Ami Kiyokawa1, Chikako Asada1, Yoshitoshi Nakamura1, ‘Glucose and Valuable Chemicals Production from Cotton Waste Using Hydrothermal Method’; Journal of Waste Biomass Valor, 2017.
  2. Maryam Khadem Ghasemi, Rosnah Bt. Mohd Yusuff, ‘Waste Treatment and Disposal Alternatives’; Journal of Poland journal of Environmental studies, 2015.
  3. Arthur Caputi, Jr. Masao Ueda, Thomas Brown, ‘Spectrophotometric Determination of Ethanol in Wine’; Journal of American Society of Enologists, 1968.
  4. Martin J. Playne, ‘Determination of Ethanol, Volatile Fatty Acids, Lactic and Succinct Acids in Fermentation Liquids by Gas Chromatography’; Journal of science, food and agriculture, 1984.
  5. Irfanullah, Nida Rehman, muhammad Balal Arain, Nasrullah Shah, ‘Conversion of Cotton to Glucose by Base Hydrolysis Using Various Hydrolytic Conditions’; Journal of Pakhtunkhwa journal of Life science, 2014.
  6. D. Patil and A. V. Shekdar, ‘Health-care waste management in India’; Journal of environmental management, 2001.
  7. Ruby C.Y. Ong and Philip J. Marriott, ‘A Review of Basic Concepts in Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography’; Journal of chromatographic science, 2002.
  8. P.C. Badger, ‘Ethanol from Cellulose: A General Review’; Journal of New Crops and Bio-Based Products journal, 2002.
  9. Debabrata Basu, Maitrayee Sarkar De, SK Rakiful, Gaurav Goel, ‘Requirement of Clinical Waste Autoclave in a Healthcare Institution’; Journal of The Academy of Clinical Microbiologists, 2018.
  10. Yu Yang, Changwei Hua, Mahdi M. Abu-Omar, ‘Conversion of glucose into furans in the presence of Alcl3 in an ethanol-water solvent system’; journal of Bioresource and Technology, 2012.
  11. Brenda A. Armstrong and Peter A. Reinhardt, ‘Managing Laboratory Biomedical Waste using A Large on-site Autoclave Shredder’; Journal of Chemical Health and Safety of the American Chemical Society, 2002.

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Ethanol Production From Surgical Waste Cotton. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
“Ethanol Production From Surgical Waste Cotton.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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Ethanol Production From Surgical Waste Cotton [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Jan 29]. Available from:
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