Healthcare wastes are defined as any wastes that result during a healthcare procedure. Some of these wastes (known as clinical/infectious waste) may be hazardous to those that come into contact with them and are subject to strict controls. Even activities that are not directly or indirectly related to healthcare can generate similar type wastes that require special attention.
Domestic clinical waste
Healthcare waste which falls within the definition of "clinical waste" needs to be collected separately from other domestic waste. Domestic clinical waste is produced by residents within their own homes. It includes:
- Human or animal tissue
- Blood or other bodily fluids
- Drugs or other pharmaceutical products
- Swabs or dressings
- Syringes, needles or other sharp instruments
- Any other healthcare related waste which may cause infection to a person coming into contact with it.
You should never mix clinical waste with your general refuse or recycling, get detailed guidance on managing your domestic healthcare waste.
If you are not sure whether you require a separate clinical waste collection service or not, please ask your healthcare service provider or contact the Council's Waste & Recycling Team.
Sharps are items of healthcare waste that could cause cuts or puncture wounds, including needles, the needle part of a syringe, scalpel and other blades, broken glass ampoules and the patient end of an infusion set.
Sharps waste does not include:
- syringe bodies (other than the needle) and the residual medicine they contain;
- medicinal waste in the form of bottles, vials, ampoules, opened ampoules;
- tubes or tablets, etc. swabs or other soft infectious waste or anatomical waste;
- broken crockery/glassware from non-healthcare items (for example a coffee jar).
What to do with your sharps waste
Where the householder uses injectables (for example a person with diabetes) with no healthcare worker involvement, the GP or healthcare worker should prescribe (using an FP10 form) the householder a sharps receptacle relevant to the medication being administered and advise of this should be managed and details of local disposal options.
Once the sharps receptacle is filled to the "fill line" it should be sealed by the householder and taken back to either the GP surgery or to the local pharmacy for disposal, or arrangements should be made with the healthcare service provider.
Substance misusers can take full sharps boxes to one of the local pharmacies, details can be found on our substance misuse web page.
The best way to dispose of unwanted medicines is by taking them to your local pharmacist.
Domestic hygiene/offensive waste
Domestic offensive or hygiene waste is not necessarily clinical waste. Offensive/hygiene waste that is not clinical waste includes non-infectious:
- Minor first aid and self-care waste for example: plasters
- Sanitary products
- Incontinence pads
- Animal faeces
- Soiled animal bedding
- Stoma bags
Offensive/hygiene waste that is not classed as 'clinical waste' can be disposed with your normal refuse, but it must be wrapped up thoroughly first.
Example: incontinence pads
Incontinence pads are classed as clinical waste only if the resident producing it from his or her home is suffering from an infectious disease. Non-infectious incontinence pads are domestic hygiene/offensive waste and should be wrapped thoroughly before being put in your domestic waste container e.g. black wheeled bin. Infectious incontinence pads, as they are clinical waste, must be stored and collected separately from other waste. If the waste was produced during the course of professional home treatment it is the responsibility of the service provider to make suitable arrangements for its collection and disposal, not the resident. If they were produced at home but not during the course of professional home treatment you will be required to used your domestic waste container.
Where hygiene/offensive waste is being generated resulting in excess waste which cannot be contained within your domestic waste container the Council may provide a limited provision for this waste e.g. exchange your black (240Ltr) wheeled bin for a larger (360Ltr) wheeled bin. This is the maximum additional capacity the Council will provide. However you must be working to reduce the amount of residual waste the household is generating by fully using the kerbside recycling services provided.
Please contact the Council to request this service, you will be required to provide:
- Name of the individual receiving healthcare/generating the waste.
- Telephone number
- Brief description of waste e.g. incontinence, dressings, etc.
Details of your heathcare worker:
- Name (Doctor/District Nurse, etc)
- Address (Surgery/Hospital/Clinic/Healthcare centre)
- Telephone number
Please be aware that this service will be periodically reviewed, at least every two years.