Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

Clinical waste regulations look at the correct segregation, separation, storage, disposal, documentation and information around the produced waste.

To help in this the Department of Health provides best practice on the Safe Management of Healthcare Waste with a colour coding waste scheme for procedures of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

A purple lidded sharps container or purple and yellow and purple bags indicate Cytotoxic or Cytostatic contaminated waste or products and in these cases, the method of disposal is by incineration. Types of waste that need disposal in this way are any PPE items such as gloves and aprons, patient gowns, any tablets in containers, blister packs, patches and unopened medicine vials.

A red lid indicates use for anatomical waste and the method of disposal is also by incineration. The types of waste included are any human body parts caused by amputation, blood preserves, organs, blood bags and placentas. Expired blood may specifically not be infectious, but all waste should be treated as infectious unless its status is known.

A yellow lidded sharps container or a yellow bag indicates clinical or highly infectious waste. Incineration is again the method of disposal and the types of products included here are couch rolls, dressings, bandages, aprons, gloves, wipes and any garments that are disposable and may have been contaminated with infectious body fluids.

A blue lidded sharps container indicates medical non-hazardous products and waste, such as out of date medicines and denatured drugs, which are controlled drugs made unsuitable for use. Some examples of waste products are unopened medicine vials, blister packs, tablets in containers, liquid in bottles, inhaler cartridges and droplet bottles with pipettes. The method of disposal is once again by incineration.

An orange lidded sharps container, which can be both hazardous and non-hazardous, or an orange bag, which is definitely hazardous, indicates infectious waste from a patient with a known or suspected infection. The method of disposal is to be sent for treatment to render it safe before disposal or incinerated. Types of PPE include gloves and aprons, contaminated dressings, syringe bodies contaminated with body fluids and very small pieces of tissue.

A yellow and black bag indicates non-hazardous, non-infectious or non-offensive hygiene or waste. These can be disposed of in deep landfills, by recycling or through incineration. These types of waste are colostomy bags, nappies and wipes, gloves, incontinence pads and any disposable garments contaminated with non-infectious body fluids.

A Black, clear or opaque bag indicates mixed municipal or household waste and the method of disposal is via landfill. These types of waste are typically packaging, tissues, flowers, sandwich wrappers and disposable cups and drinking cans.

In the field of dentistry, a white container with a red lid and skull and crossbones is for dental amalgam and mercury. The method of disposal is by recovery or recycle and include unwanted amalgam, old fillings, grindings, teeth with fillings, surplus amalgam which cannot be reused and any packaging, for example, capsules that may contain residue.

There is a second Dental waste management item and that is a white lidded container. The contents of this container can be recovered and it would contain dental study moulds.

Staff need to be aware of the correct receptacle to use in their area of work and any procedures or processes that need to be adhered to.