Dealing with offensive waste
Offensive waste. It’s not when you open a bin and you hear a voice shouting ″Knickers!″ back at you. That being our one and only attempt at end-of-the-pier humour on these pages, and we think it best to stop now.
Offensive waste is refuse that falls generally into the same category of clinical waste that we have discussed before. However, it is more broadly defined as non-infectious waste, which is unpleasant to handle and may cause offence to those coming into contact with it. This means refuse from medical sites such as protective clothing including masks, gowns and gloves that are not contaminated with body fluids. Also, there’s hygiene waste and sanitary protection like soiled nappies and incontinence pads, not to mention sterilised, non-infectious laboratory waste.
Clinical waste such as sharps, body parts, organs, blood, medicines and could be infectious is not counted as offensive waste.
Essentially, it’s non-infectious waste, which is unpleasant and may cause offence to those coming into contact with it, but still requires specialist handling. If your organisation is a producer of this kind of waste, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are not a nuisance to other businesses or the local community. Any complaints that are held up by local authorities can result in criminal prosecutions.
Dealing with offensive waste requires care. It must be in yellow tiger-stripe bags, and you must keep waste transfer notes for any offensive waste that leaves your premises for two years. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the right waste goes into the right bag. Offensive waste is not allowed in clinical waste bags, nor is it allowed in plain black bags.
Offensive waste is typically disposed of through incineration or taken to a non-hazardous landfill site by a registered waste carrier. It’s worth noting that most clinical waste treatment sites are not authorised to dispose of offensive waste, so you need to make sure that the site receiving your waste is authorised to deal with your particular type of waste.
Like any aspect of waste disposal, care needs to be taken to ensure that regulations properly address and the proper procedures are in place. If you have any queries, just ask.
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