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With the advent of disposable items made from or bonded by polyvinylalcohol polymers, particularly highly hydrolyzed polyvinylalcohol of limited water solubility, the disposal of used contaminated items has become a significant problem. These disposable products are typically used once and then discarded. During use, the items often come into contact with infective biological liquids and solids that can contain bacteria, viral particles, fecal matter, blood, mucus, etc. This large volume of disposable and often contaminated materials poses a significant problem to the hospitality and healthcare industries. Previously, such disposables are often sterilized using autoclave (high temperature steam) digestion to render the pathogen content substantially harmless. Such a process is time consuming due to the large volume of disposable materials and can be energy wastefull. We have found that polyvinylalcohol containing fabric materials can be treated with an aqueous alkaline treatment or with an alkaline oxidant for the purpose of rendering the pathogens harmless and dissolving the polyvinylalcohol non-woven for disposal purposes.

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