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Waste Legislation

Waste Legislation

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

Colour Code

The Department of Health provides best practice guidelines for waste segregation and disposal through its colour coding system. It is recommended that different waste streams are allocated specific colours, so as to make management of different waste items easier and more efficient. The colour code can be applied from the point waste is generated, throughout storage, transportation and disposal.

Confused about Healthcare Waste colour codes

Waste Regulation

There are four key regulations that apply to clinical waste in the UK. We understand the legal obligations placed on organisations that must comply with these and we can offer advice to help enhance and streamline protocols within your environment.

The Environment Protection Act 1990 (including Duty of Care regulations)
This is the main legislation governing clinical waste disposal. It states that all production of waste have a Duty of Care to ensure the correct management of waste, and this includes documenting the transfer of waste and ensuring that the waste is handled correctly by all handlers. It also requires compliance with The Waste Hierarchy.

The Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012
This states that household, industrial and commercial waste is classed as ‘controlled waste’ and are subject to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Hazardous Waste Directive
This provides guidance on labelling, record keeping, monitoring and control obligations for everyone from waste production to the final recovery / disposal. It forbids mixing of hazardous substances and items in order to prevent risk to the environment and human health.

The Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations
These govern the transportation of dangerous goods, by rail or road. They state that all technicians transporting dangerous waste must be ADR trained and therefore have sufficient knowledge to transfer the waste safely.

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.

For more information on any of the above, see our Useful Links page.

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