However, the improper disposal of certain waste types, such as clinical waste which includes infectious waste, poses a much more significant threat to the environment than other waste products. As such, extra care and precautions should be taken to manage, store, and dispose of this waste. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about infectious waste disposal.
What is Infectious Waste?
Examples of infectious waste include:
Facts on Infectious Waste
According to the WHO, 85% of the waste produced in healthcare facilities is classified as hazardous. From this, 15% of the waste is either infectious or toxic, which further exemplifies the need for handling it appropriately.
The NHS produces 600,000 tonnes of waste per year – though only a small percentage of this figure relates to infectious waste. For example, the NHS disposes of 133,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually.
There are various legislations in place which dictate how infectious waste should be handled, stored, transported, and disposed of within the UK, including the Environmental Protection Act (1990) and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations. You can find out more about them here.
Who produces Infectious Waste?
Healthcare Facilities such as hospitals, health centres, and doctors’ surgeries. Healthcare facilities are the largest producers of infectious waste due to the nature of their work. Their infectious waste includes products used to treat or care for infectious patients, diagnostic samples, and PPE. As most patients within these environments are potentially vulnerable, the safe disposal of infectious waste must be considered an absolute priority.
Nursing and care homes. Carers who work in these facilities often come into contact with infectious waste when providing their residents with the medical care they need. Waste produced on these facilities includes sanitary waste, dressings, wipes, and gloves.
Dental practices. Much like healthcare facilities, dental practices produce large volumes of infectious waste, especially when they are carrying out surgical procedures requiring gauzes, bandages, and sharps.
Laboratories. Laboratories, especially those that conduct medical or clinical research, also produce large volumes of infectious waste during their daily operations. This could include items such as swabs, samples and gauze.
Veterinary practices. While the patients may be a little different, veterinary practices produce similar types of infectious waste to healthcare facilities. This includes dressings, wipes, animal bedding, and PPE.
Blood banks and COVID-Testing Centres. Both blood banks and COVID-testing centres produce large amounts of waste – and to reduce the spread of infection or cross-contamination, it must be disposed of appropriately. Thankfully, there are various ways in which you can go about handling Covid Testing waste.
Infectious waste bags
How should infectious waste be stored?
PPE items, such as gloves, are worn whenever the waste is being handled.
All waste is segregated correctly and stored in the correct containers.
All waste is securely stored at a designated collection point in an area where no unauthorised personnel (such as the general public) can come into contact with it.
What bins, containers and bags should be used?
Yellow clinical waste bags. Businesses can use Yellow clinical waste bags to store highly infectious clinical waste products. Due to the classification of this waste, it is typically disposed of through incineration. This includes:
Disposable Garments (Contaminated with bodily fluids)
Orange clinical waste bag. Businesses can use orange waste bags to store infectious clinical waste products. As they are not classified as highly infectious, they can sometimes be treated and rendered safe before disposal instead of being incinerated. This could include:
Non-contaminated Dressing and Wipes
Infectious waste bins. Our 660 Litre Wheelie Bin is perfect for storing infectious waste before collection. Available in a range of colours, they typically hold between 10-12 bags of waste.
Sharps bins. Sharps waste is not always considered infectious but can be incredibly hazardous if they are not disposed of correctly. As such, all employees must have access to sharps bins. They are sealable and lockable to prevent unauthorised access and can also be colour-coded. Sharps waste includes items such as:
Infectious waste disposal
How is infectious waste disposed of?
Previously, many companies would mistakenly dispose of their infectious waste alongside their general waste. This means that a vast proportion of this waste would end up in a landfill site – where it could contaminate other waste products, spread infection, or even pollute water sources if not properly managed.
The easiest and safest way to dispose of this waste is through incineration. At Business waste, our high-temperature incinerators reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees and are used to safely and securely dispose of infectious waste.
Infectious waste collection
What infectious waste collection options are available from Business Waste?
Access to free bins and bags to store your waste before collection.
Expert advice on guidance on all areas of waste disposal, including tips that will enable you to reduce your waste effectively.
A waste collection plan that works for your business. For example, we can collect infectious waste on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
Peace of mind, as you know that all of your waste will be handled according to all legislations and with the environment in mind.
If you have any questions about the services we offer or would like to receive a free quote – please do not hesitate to get in touch today.