An autoclave is a piece of equipment that is used to sterilize instruments. It uses steam under high pressure to remove any contaminants or bacteria.
Plastic and paper cannot be sterilized in an autoclave. Plastic melts and paper products are destroyed under an autoclave's heat. Using an autoclave to sterilize medical waste has become a more prevalent practice than incineration. This is due to health concerns over the byproducts that burnt waste emits.
Autoclaves are most commonly used by medical professionals, tattoo artists, professional nail salons, veterinarians and dentists. Autoclaves prevent the transfer of germs and viruses from devices used by professional service providers.