Anatomical waste disposal

Ethical and sustainable waste disposal practices have (rightfully) become part of the public conversation in recent years. As a result, business owners must put together a waste management plan that allows them to safely and securely dispose of all waste produced in the running of their business. However, while the disposal of some waste products, such as dry mixed recyclables, is relatively straightforward – other areas, such as anatomical waste, can be harder to tackle.

Anatomical Waste - Red Clinical Waste Bag

With that in mind, here is everything you need to know about anatomical waste disposal.

What is anatomical waste?

Anatomical waste refers to any waste products that contain human (or animal) tissue, blood or body parts. It is sometimes referred to as pathological waste. Examples of anatomical waste include:

    Body parts
    Blood bags
    Body fluids
    Animal carcasses
    Tissue samples
    Contaminated/soaked materials (PPE, bandages, swabs)

While the waste is not always infectious, it has the potential to be so – and as a result, must be disposed of carefully and in accordance with all government regulations. It is often classified as a form of clinical waste.

Who produces anatomical waste?

Anatomical waste, more often than not, is produced at healthcare facilities. Common examples include:

Hospitals & health centres. Hospitals and healthcare facilities are the key contributors to anatomical waste due to the nature of their work. For example, this could include cadavers, blood bags and contaminated and soaked materials.

Veterinary Practices. Veterinary practices also produce large amounts of anatomical waste. For example, this could include the waste leftover from surgical procedures or animal carcasses.

Funeral homes and mortuaries. Funeral homes and mortuaries will also encounter anatomical waste during the running of their business. As a result, they must have a robust waste management plan in place – especially when discretion and sensitivity play an integral role in their work.

Dentist practices. Dentist surgeries produce large volumes of hazardous waste, including small amounts of anatomical waste. Typically, this could include blood, blood bags or contaminated and soaked materials. For example, after removing a tooth, gauze is often used to reduce bleeding. These materials must be disposed of safely and securely.

Laboratories. Laboratories or testing centres may also produce large volumes of anatomical waste. For example, they may be testing out new medications using tissue samples. Alternatively, they may be screening blood samples for signs of disease and infection. All of this waste must be disposed of securely.

Blood donation centres. It goes without saying that blood donation centres will also have to dispose of certain amounts of anatomical waste.

How should anatomical waste be stored and managed?

All anatomical waste should be viewed as hazardous. This means that business owners must take particular care when storing it in their facility prior to collection. For example, business owners should:

    Ensure that employees receive appropriate waste management and disposal training.

    Provide the employees with easy access to the appropriate bins and storage units.

    Ensure that all storage units are secure and lockable and that access to these areas is highly restricted.

    For example, you may wish to lock the area or install security cameras.

    Clearly label all waste products, and arrange for them to be collected and disposed of by a licensed waste carrier. They must also complete a waste transfer note.

    Once the waste has been collected, business owners must keep a copy of their consignment notes.

Anatomical waste bags

What bins, containers and bags should be used to store anatomical waste?

Thankfully, there are various different bags and containers that can be used to store anatomical waste. Typically, the bins, containers or bags will be red in colour, making it easy for users to properly segregate anatomical waste from the rest of the waste produced at their facility. Here, segregation is essential as it ensures that businesses remain compliant with all government regulations.

Anatomical waste is typically stored in:

Red clinical waste bags. These bags are used to store anatomical waste as they are highly durable and leak-proof, meaning that they cannot easily be damaged, allowing their contents to spill out. Even so, some users prefer to double-bag their waste to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Wheelie bins. At BusinessWaste, we provide our clients with access to a range of free containers – each of which are carefully selected to meet their needs. When it comes to storing anatomical waste, we’d recommend the 240 Litre or 660 Litre wheelie bins, which can hold 4 to 10 bags of anatomical waste, respectively. They are perfect for storing anatomical waste as they are secure, lockable and built to comply with all local and EU standards.

Anatomical waste disposal

How is anatomical waste disposed of?

It is vital that anatomical waste does not inadvertently end up in a landfill site due to the range of hazards that this could present. As a result, once a licensed carrier collects your anatomical waste, it will be transported to a dedicated disposal facility. Often, this form of waste is disposed of through incineration. This process breaks down the harmful chemicals present within the anatomical waste.

Anatomical waste collection

What waste collection options are available?

At BusinessWaste, we take on a flexible approach to waste management and collections. This is because we know that each and every business is different, and as such, requires a different collection schedule. So, whether you want your waste to be collected daily, every fortnight, or once a month – we’ve got you covered. You should, however, ensure that anatomical waste is not left on your facility for too long.

Once we’ve agreed upon a collection schedule, we’ll get to work on collecting, transporting and disposing of your anatomical waste in a way that complies with all legislations and minimises the impact your business has on the environment. Get in touch to find out more!

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