medical and clinical waste disposal

What Are The Guidelines For Disposing of Clinical and Medical Waste?

Filed under - medical and clinical waste systems
July 4, 2019

Disposing of clinical and medical waste is much more complex than other waste. There are different classifications of medical waste which need to be disposed of in different ways. This is due to the range of risks associated with them. The Government separates medical waste into the following categories; offensive, plaster, medicines, sharps, anatomical, bagged clinical and lab chemicals.

Each type of medical waste has a different level of risk attached to resulting in different disposal methods for each one.  The sorting process begins in the medical establishment such as hospitals, doctor’s surgeries, clinics and the homes of some patients.  For example needles (sharps) are deposited into a yellow container which is self-sealing so people don’t accidentally prick themselves with them.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) highlights the major health concerns relating to healthcare workers exposure to medical waste.  It is imperative that the policymakers incorporate the safe disposal of medical waste in their guidelines. It is important to put an effective medical disposal system in place. Making tracking the waste from clinics, hospitals and doctors surgeries to its disposal destination easier.

What Is Medical Waste?

The following are examples of medical waste; anything soaked in blood, human or animal tissue, cultures, infected waste products and used vaccines.  Medical waste is essentially anything that comes into contact with a patient in a medical setting. Clinical waste includes sharps (needles), bandages, swabs, radioactive material, human fluid, body parts, bodily fluids, medication, chemical, toxic and non-toxic materials.

The nature of medical waste makes it potentially hazardous for anyone who comes into contact with it.  Exposure to infected needles puts a person at risk of contracting life-changing conditions such as HIV or hepatitis.  Ineffective disposal methods put us all at risk of infections due to it being mixed with general waste.

Clinical Waste Disposal

Medical waste falls into four categories; sharps, infectious, anatomical and clinical. Unsurprisingly hospitals are the greatest producers of medical waste.  All clinical waste has to be stored in separate containers depending on which category it fits into. In the past hospitals used to incinerate their waste on site.  This method was ineffective because the incinerators were not big enough to destroy all of the waste.  

In the past, desperate drug addicts were able to raid hospital skips and help themselves to discarded medication.  Fortunately, this is no longer the case due to government regulations regarding the safe disposal of medical waste.  Waste management companies collect the different types of medical waste and dispose of them safely. Clinical waste processing systems which render make the waste safe and fulfil industry standards.

If you are a waste management company who are loking into disposing of clinical and medical waste contact us and we would be happy to discuss our systems with you.