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How to plan an effective Clinical Waste procedure

Published: 1st Oct, 2020

How to plan an effective Clinical Waste procedure

Controlled Waste (England and Wales) 2012 Regulations state that any waste partly or wholly made up of: Waste from a healthcare activity including veterinary healthcare or waste of a similar nature from a non-healthcare activity.

Most clinical waste is produced by the healthcare sector, such as hospitals, GP surgeries, dental practices, residential properties and nursing homes. In addition, clinical waste can also come from zoological institutes, veterinary practices and research centres. Other producers of clinical waste and sharps waste include acupuncturists, tattooists and piercists.

Types of Clinical Waste

  • Infectious Waste EWC: 18 01 03 (Human) / EWC: 18 02 02 (Animal): Also generated in human and animal healthcare infectious waste includes items such as swabs, bandages, gowns, cultures and stocks of infectious agents from laboratory work and disposable medical devices.

  • Non-infectious Waste / Offensive Waste: EWC: 18 01 04 (Human) / EWC: 18 02 03 (Animal): The main sources of offensive waste are from human and animal healthcare sectors. Any waste that isn’t infectious and doesn’t contain pharmaceutical or chemical substances and is likely to cause offense to the senses is offensive waste.

  • Offensive waste from a non-healthcare environment: (20 01 99) can be sterilised; the resulting material being shredded, recycled or used in waste to energy process as a fuel. Waste generated in the human healthcare (18 01 04) or animal healthcare (18 02 03) is normally sent to an energy from waste plant or to landfill.

Sharps Waste

The classification of the sharps waste determines the options available for treatment and how to dispose of sharps containers:

  • Hazardous Sharps Waste: EWC: 18 01 03 (Human) / EWC: 18 02 03 (Animal) Needles, syringes, scalpels or glass vials/flasks used in the treatment of people or animals that are contaminated with either infectious bodily fluids or pharmaceutical residue.
  • Non-hazardous Sharps Waste: EWC: 18 01 01 (Human) / EWC: 18 02 01 (Animal) The items are same as above – needles, syringes etc. However, the difference is this waste isn’t infectious or contaminated with medicine. For example, needles from a blood donor clinic aren’t considered hazardous.

Pharmaceutical Waste

  • EWC: 18 01 08 (Human Cytotoxic / Cytostatic) / EWC: 18 02 07 (Animal Cytotoxic / Cytostatic). EWC: 18 01 09 (Human Medicines not mentioned in 18 01 08) / EWC: 18 02 08 (Animal medicines not mentioned in 18 02 07) Pharmaceutical waste needs to be managed carefully to protect public health and the wider environment.


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