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Healthcare waste management colour codes: a reminder


Healthcare Waste Management Colour Codes

Whether you’re in charge of waste management at a hospital, veterinary practice or a pharmaceutical manufacturer, it’s important you abide by a best practice waste segregation colour coding scheme.

To help keep you on the right track, we’ve compiled a quick reminder of the various colour codes you should be following when disposing of waste ...


This is for infectious waste to be sent for incineration at an authorised facility. This type of waste must not be sent for alternative treatment. Examples of waste classified as infectious include chemically contaminated samples and diagnostic kits, and laboratory specimens.


This is for infectious waste to be sent for alternative treatment to render it safe before being disposed of. Examples of types of waste suitable for this method are dressings, bedpans, bandages and protective clothing.


For cytotoxic or cytostatic medicine waste or any items contaminated with these, it must be sent for incineration at an authorised facility. This type of waste includes containers with residues of cytotoxic or cytostatic medicines and sharps from treatment using cytotoxic or cytostatic medicines.

Yellow & Black

Also referred to as Tiger, this colour coding symbolises non-infectious, offensive/hygiene waste which may be recycled, incinerated or deep landfilled. This type of waste can include items contaminated with bodily fluids, such as incontinence pads, catheter bags or maternity waste.


If you see a red colour coding, it should only be used for anatomical waste to be sent for incineration at an authorised facility. Anatomical waste can include everything from recognisable body parts to placenta.


This is for non-hazardous medicinal waste set for incineration at an authorised facility. This can include part empty containers containing residues of non-cytotoxic/cytostatic medicines, waste medicines, out-of-date medicines and denatured drugs.


Typically reserved for dental waste, white colour coding is for hazardous material including dental amalgam and mercury, excess mixed amalgam and the contents of amalgam separators to be disposed either by recovery or recycling.


This should be used for domestic or municipal waste and should not contain any hazardous material, sharps or medicinal products. Items you would typically find in this type of waste are food and tissues, for instance.

If you’d like some more information about segregating your organisation’s waste correctly, get in touch with a member of our team for further guidance – we’d love to help.