Our local, trusted Initial Medical consultants are on hand to support your business
Rated excellent on Trustpilot with over 2,000 independent customer reviews
Leading industry knowledge of UK waste legislation and guidance
Clinical Waste Disposal
Clinical waste, sometimes known as medical waste is typically associated with healthcare environments such as care and nursing homes, dentists, pharmacies, veterinary and healthcare practices. Hazardous or non-hazardous waste can be found in any business. Disposing of clinical waste with proper management is essential for environmental protection. In addition to the safety of healthcare workers and the public. Understanding clinical waste streams can be confusing so whether you are at the beginning of understanding your clinical waste needs or just need a reminder, our clinical waste experts are happy to help. Below you will find a guide on clinical waste and how we can help with your clinical waste management.
What is Clinical Waste?
Clinical waste is defined in The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012 and includes any waste arising from medical, dental, pharmaceutical or other similar healthcare practices. Examples of clinical waste include:
Syringes, needles or other sharp instruments which, unless rendered safe, may prove hazardous to any person coming into contact with it
Drugs or other pharmaceutical products
Infectious swabs,dressings and PPE
Human or animal tissue
Blood or bodily fluids
Why is Clinical Waste Management Important?
Disposing clinical waste properly is crucial for several reasons:
1. Public Health and Safety
Improper disposal of clinical waste can pose significant health risks to the public. Clinical waste often contains infectious materials like used syringes, contaminated dressings, and bodily fluids. If not disposed of correctly, it can lead to the spread of diseases and infections, endangering both healthcare workers and the general population.
2. Preventing Environmental Pollution
Clinical waste often contains hazardous substances, including pharmaceuticals and chemicals, which can have harmful effects on the environment if not managed properly. Dumping clinical waste in landfills or incinerating it without appropriate controls and management can lead to soil and water contamination, air pollution, and long-term ecological damage.
3. Compliance with Regulations
The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012 identifies clinical waste as controlled waste and therefore requires proper disposal under The Environmental Protection Act 1990. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal penalties, fines, or even the suspension of healthcare facility operations. Proper disposal ensures compliance and avoids legal consequences.
4. Reducing Cross-Contamination
Effective clinical waste disposal practices, including correct waste segregation and storage prevent cross-contamination between different types of waste. This helps reduce the risk of accidental exposure to infectious materials and ensures that waste is handled safely for onward disposal.
At Initial Medical we help you take care of your clinical waste management so you can focus on what you need to. Working with you, our expertly trained consultants will complete a site compliance audit to identify and categorise the waste you are producing, and from thisdesign a bespoke clinical waste collection plan.
We have a wide range of clinical waste containers in varying sizes for each waste streams and can tailor the frequency of collection as and when you need it, so when your demand grows your clinical waste solution can be flexed to suit your needs.
Understanding Types of Clinical Waste and the Clinical Waste Colour Code
Clinical waste, encompasses a wide range of materials.These materials are classified into several categories based on their characteristics, potential hazards, and specific disposal requirements.
Proper segregation, handling, and disposal of clinical waste is essential to help prevent the spread of infections, protect staff, and minimise environmental impacts. Find out more about clinical waste streamsts and download our colour code guides.
How should clinical waste be disposed of? -
In healthcare settings, clinical waste is most commonly disposed of into the orange waste stream where waste is known or suspected to be infectious.
According to clinical waste regulations, the yellow waste stream must be chosen if your waste is known or suspected to be contaminated medicinally or with category A pathogens such as Ebola, Anthrax and HIV (cultures). You can read more about the different waste streams in our colour coding guide. Your clinical waste collection is sent to a specialist waste disposal facility for treatment or incineration, due to the infectious nature of clinical waste.
Why is clinical waste hazardous? -
Much of the medical waste that is produced by healthcare practices is infectious, putting those who come into contact with the waste into possible harm via virus transmission. Sharps waste poses a particular risk, causing injuries from needles and scalpels that could lead to dangerous infection spread. Read more on the danger of needlestick injuries.
Where should clinical waste be stored? - Once filled to three quarters full, your clinical waste bag or rigid container should be stored in a designated locked room or cupboard out of the way of all patients, customers and staff who enter your practice. If your clinical waste is stored outside, we supply lockable external wheelie bins to keep your waste safe and secure from rodents and other pests. Correctly storing your clinical waste forms part of your statutory duty of care to safely manage the waste on your premises.