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What is Clinical Waste?

March 17, 2021

What is Clinical Waste?

Clinical waste is a type of waste which has the potential to cause disease or infection. Clinical waste is generated from healthcare providers such as doctors’ surgeries, hospitals, dental practices and more. Clinical waste can often cause disease as it contains contaminated materials. Clinical waste can also often be items that are contaminated with bodily fluids and/or blood, pharmaceutical products and/or drugs, human or animal tissue, dressings, swabs and soiled personal protective equipment (PPE).

All clinical waste must be collected and disposed of safely and within the current health and safety regulations. This is a useful document to help those who produce clinical waste to understand the various waste classifications.

What are the different Clinical Waste Streams?

WGS offer various waste collections dependent on the waste that you produce. Here are some of the different clinical waste types that we can collect and dispose of safely:

‘Offensive’ Waste – non-clinical waste which does not contain pharmaceutical substances, such as nappies, wipes, gloves and disposable garments which are contaminated.

Waste Medicines – hazardous (such as cytotoxic medications) and non-hazardous medicines.

Sharps Waste – hazardous waste which may have been contaminated with cytotoxic or cytostatic medicines

Anatomical Waste – may be deemed hazardous such as infectious waste which has been chemically preserved, as well as non-hazardous, non-infections anatomical wastes. For example, organs, body parts, blood bags.

Infectious Waste – clinical waste which does not contain chemicals or pharmaceuticals (orange bag) as well as infectious clinical waste (yellow bag).

Every producer of hazardous waste has a legal ‘duty of care’ to ensure the hazardous waste is disposed of safely and appropriately. If failing to do so, you could face heavy fines and the closure of your business.

‘The Safe Management of Healthcare Waste’ published by the Department of Health is a useful source for any facilities handling clinical waste. It supplies essential guidance when disposing of healthcare waste, and the key difference between offensive, hazardous and non-hazardous clinical waste.

Should you be found to be not complying with the correct segregation of healthcare waste and disposing of medical waste incorrectly, you could be fined £5,000 and sanctions on your business could be imposed.

How We Safely Dispose of Clinical Waste

Sharps waste must be collected in approved containers, so that there are no injuries caused by needle sticks. The majority of sharps and general clinical waste which could be contaminated requires high temperature incineration. It is incinerated at a temperature between 850-1000 degrees, which condenses the waste to 10% its original volume, in ash and lime. Ash is recycled and reused by contractors for other processes and lime is reused by third parties. Also, the steam and heat produced throughout the process is used for electricity and heating.

How We Can Help

WGS Waste Management can provide your business with the correct waste bins, sharps bins and bags for the waste you produce, as well as regular waste collections at a timescale to suit you. You can be sure that all of our waste is disposed of safely, and none of it ends up at landfill.

If we can help your business in any way – please just get in touch and we will guide you through the process and provide you with a free quote!

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