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Waste Legislation

Waste Legislation

Guidance for clinical waste regulation compliance

In the UK there is legislation in place to ensure that hazardous clinical waste, including dental waste, is managed safely and disposed of in a way that ensures human health and the environment remains free from harm.

We understand the legal obligations placed on organisations and provides advice and best practice recommendations to ensure your clinical waste is handled, transported and disposed of in safe and effective manner whilst ensuring compliance with regulations.

All clinical waste handling and disposal procedures must comply with the following regulations:

  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990 (including the Duty of Care Regulations)
  • The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012
  • The Hazardous Waste Directive 2011
  • The Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations

The main legislation governing clinical waste disposal is The Environmental Protection Act 1990. This stipulates that all producers of waste have a Duty of Care to ensure the correct and proper management of waste is performed and states that it is unlawful to deposit, recover or dispose of controlled clinical waste without a waste management licence, or in a way that causes pollution of the environment or harm to human health.

Hazardous Waste Regulations and Special Waste

The Hazardous Waste Regulations and The Hazardous Waste (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2005 replaced The Special Waste Regulations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Special Waste (Amendment) Regulations 2004 had previously amended the Special Waste 1996 Regulations in Scotland. Certain clinical, medicinal & dental wastes are affected by the new Regulations. The responsibility for determining if waste is special/hazardous rests with the producer, although our expert consultants will assist & advise you.

Hazardous (England & Wales) or Special (Scotland) Waste Consignment Note

All consignments of hazardous (special) waste must be accompanied by the appropriate paper work. We will provide all required documentation for your collection.

This will include:

  • All site addresses and personnel involved with the waste transfer
  • A full description of waste type, including required shipping terms
  • Correct European Waste Catalogue (EWC) code for each waste stream
  • A required copy for you to store on your premise

Hazardous Waste Quarterly Return Note

We will provide a quarterly statement of all transfers of hazardous waste collected and transferred from each premises. This is required under current legislation and will support you during any inspections from Regulatory Authorities.

This will detail:

  • All wastes collected with correct EWC code
  • Full volumes of each waste stream
  • Storage and disposal methods used for each waste stream

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 & Duty of Care (General)

The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 have recently introduced a number of important changes to waste legislation, including for the first time a legal requirement to apply The Waste Hierarchy. They have also amended the requirements as to what must be included in Waste Transfer Notes and Hazardous Waste Consignment Notes in England and Wales.

The main principles of Duty of Care are about documenting the transfer of waste and ensuring that your waste is handled correctly by waste carriers (e.g. are you using a registered carrier of waste? Are they are taking waste to suitably licensed/permitted sites?). You should only use a Contractor who can provide proof of compliance with the legislation, such as Initial Medical.

Key Principles

The key principles of clinical waste regulations relate to the correct segregation, storage, disposal and documentation of waste.

The Environment Agency has imposed a legal requirement for waste producers to perform pre-acceptance audits before their waste can be accepted and disposed of. This process audits all waste streams ensuring the correct classification of waste types is achieved.

The Safe Management of Healthcare Waste Memorandum (HTM 07-01) issued by the Department of Health provides guidance on the secure and legally compliant management of clinical waste. This recommends the segregation of clinical waste occurs at the point of production using colour coded waste receptacles and outlines a best practice waste segregation colour coding scheme for producers of waste to follow. This separation ensures clinical waste legislation is adhered to and waste is stored, transported and disposed on in the correct manner.

Since hazardous waste regulations were introduced in England and Wales any premise producing more than 200kg of hazardous waste is required to annually register with the Environment Agency. In 2009, this was increased to 500kg per annum. We can register each premise on your behalf and renew your registration annually, thereby ensuring you are compliant with the regulations at all times. We will provide you with your unique registration number for all waste shipments. Furthermore, you can then be rest assured that your registration number will be included on all shipments of hazardous waste that we collect from you, which is a requirement under the hazardous waste regulations.

All Initial Medical sites to which healthcare waste is taken for storage (prior to onward transfer to final disposal) currently hold Environmental Permits (England and Wales) or Waste Management Licences (Scotland and Northern Ireland) as Waste Transfer Stations.

Copies of these Environmental Permits/Waste Management Licences/Registered Exemptions and for any sites we transfer waste to for further treatment or final disposal are available on request.

For more information or for further advice on how our clinical waste services can ensure your organisation is complying with the relevant regulations please get in touch.

0800 030 4005

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Waste Legislation Overview