Initial Medical waste legislation

Waste Legislation

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Waste Legislation

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

There are four key regulations that apply to clinical waste in the UK, outlined below. We understand the legal obligations placed on organisations that must comply with these, and provide trusted guidance to business in enhancing and streamlining 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 producers of waste have a Duty of Care to ensure the correct management of waste, including documenting the transfer of waste and ensuring waste is handled correctly. 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 and disposal. It forbids the 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.

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Waste disposal requirements


  • Hazardous Waste Regulations and Specialist 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 paperwork. 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 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.

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