Dealing with clinical waste

15/02/2018News

Waste is probably not your largest area of expenditure, therefore, can be your most wasteful if not properly handled. If not set up correctly, dealing with waste can take an
inordinate amount of staff effort to manage. With the potential for fines and the
ultimate risk of facility closure, it does require a consolidated and thorough approach and
should be high on the agenda of any healthcare organisation.

Sustainable Advantage is a leading waste management consultancy in this area.
Supporting over 1,000 locations with their clinical and healthcare related waste, from
needle exchange programs through to care homes, medical practices and hospitals.

Getting things in order

Compliance is key when it comes to waste in health care. The first area to examine is
how to ensure you are compliant with all the relevant regulations.

Handling different waste streams

Healthcare and medical facilities produce clinical waste which is obviously a more
complex waste stream than traditional general and recyclable waste. Clinical waste
needs to be controlled to eliminate any impact on the environment and the risk of harm
to people coming in contact with it.
This starts with clinical waste being put into specific and appropriate waste bins, which
are clearly labelled – not only as clinical waste but with the appropriate sub-category.

What is a clinical waste?

  • Waste which consists of tissue, blood or other body fluids, excretions, drugs or other
    pharmaceutical products, swabs or dressings, syringes, needles or other sharp instruments.
    Waste of this nature unless rendered safe may prove hazardous if you come into contact
    with it.
  • Waste arising from medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, pharmaceutical or similar practice,
    investigation, treatment, care, teaching or research, or the collection of blood for
    transfusion, and may cause infection to any person coming into contact with it.
    This results in 3 broad categories of clinical waste:
  • Any healthcare waste which poses a risk of infection.
  • Certain healthcare wastes which pose a chemical hazard;
  • Medicines and medicinally-contaminated waste containing a pharmaceutically-active agent.

Clinical waste obviously needs to be handled with extreme care and needs careful
signage and labelling, not only on the clinical bins but more importantly on the nonclinical
bins. These tend to be used more frequently and the potential for cross-contamination
is huge. To not have negative environmental consequences, clinical waste has to be disposed of appropriately.

To find out more, contact us today.