Healthcare waste

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.

Collections of Healthcare Waste and Medical Sharps in the Community

Doncaster Council does not provide separate collections of clinical waste or medical sharps boxes.

If you need to arrange disposal of these items please contact your healthcare practitioner in the first instance. Please see the categories under 'Management of Healthcare Waste' below for advice and guidance on disposal.

Responsibility for Healthcare Waste in the Community

Community Healthcare practitioners as ‘Producers’ of Healthcare Waste, directly and indirectly, are required to ensure waste is segregated, described, classified and disposed of appropriately.

Healthcare practitioners working in the community must assess the waste they are producing for hazardous properties, most notably, “infectious” waste. To accurately assess if the waste generated is infectious, a clinical assessment should be performed. This should be based on the professional assessment, clinical signs and symptoms, and any prior knowledge of the patient.

Management of Healthcare Waste in the Community

Clinical Waste

Healthcare Waste is classified as 'Clinical Waste' when a clinical assessment identifies that the item of waste:

  • poses a risk of infection
  • poses a chemical hazard
  • contains medicines with a pharmaceutical-active agent

Examples of Clinical Waste include:

  • human or animal tissue
  • blood or other bodily fluids
  • excretions
  • drugs and/or other pharmaceutical products
  • swabs and/or dressings
  • Syringes, needles or other sharp instruments
  • any Healthcare Waste which may prove hazardous or may cause infection to a person coming into contact with it.
Clinical Waste should never be disposed of with general Household / Commercial Waste or recycling. It requires separate collection 

If the waste presents a hazard or risk of infection, it should be classified and described appropriately and will need to be separated and packaged for appropriate treatment and disposal. This will be in an Orange or Yellow bag/bin to be determined following a clinical assessment. The healthcare practitioner is responsible for the correct classification, removal or arranging to remove, and disposal of this waste.

If you are a patient and you are unsure if waste produced by treatment or self-care is Clinical Waste, which requires a separate Clinical Waste collection service, please ask your healthcare practitioner.

If you run a business and you are unsure if waste produced on your premise is Clinical Waste, which requires a separate Clinical Waste collection service, please ask your Commercial Waste Contractor.

Self-medicating patients and the disposal of medical sharps

Medical sharps are items of healthcare waste that could cause cuts or puncture wounds, including:

  • needles and the needle part of a syringe
  • scalpels and other blades
  • broken glass ampoules 
  • the patient end of an infusion set

Self-medicating patients that need to inject medicines at home (eg diabetics), require a colour coded sharps box suitable for the type of medication being administered.  Your GP or healthcare practitioner will prescribe the correct type of sharps box at the time of your diagnosis and will train you how to use it safely.

Once a sharps box is full (note the “fill line”) you should seal it to prevent accidents.  Sharps boxes must be disposed of appropriately, DO NOT place them in your bins at home.  You can take your sealed sharps boxes back to the GP or healthcare practitioner responsible for your prescription or to a local pharmacy.

Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (Doncaster CCG) and Doncaster Council have jointly commissioned a sharps box collection / delivery service for self-medicating patients in Doncaster.  A private company called ‘Sharpsmart’ operate this service, making collections of sealed sharps boxes from patient’s homes.  Your GP’s or healthcare practitioner can make a referral for your sharps boxes to be collected from home at the time of your diagnosis.

It is important that new patients have arrangements put in-place through their GP or Healthcare practitioner, requirements can change depending on the type of medicine being administering and your medical status.

Existing patients that simply need to change a home collection date or no longer require a sharps box collection can contact Sharpsmart directly, customer service can be contacted using the details below:

By phone:        01388 348 007

By email:         Doncaster@sharpsmart.co.uk

By post:           Unit 1, Enterprise City, Meadowfield Avenue, Spennymoor, DL16 6JF

Offensive Waste

Healthcare Waste is classified as ‘Offensive Waste’ when a clinical assessment identifies the item of waste:

- does not pose a risk of infection 
- does not pose a chemical hazard 
- does not contains medicines with a pharmaceutically-active agent but may be unpleasant to others who come into contact with it 

Examples of Offensive Waste include non-infectious:

• minor first aid and self-care waste such as plasters 
• nappies and incontinence pads 
• stoma and /or catheter bags;
• sanitary products and used condoms 
• animal faeces and/ or soiled animal bedding 

Self-medicating patients and the disposal of medical sharps

Self-medicating patients that need to inject medicines at home (eg diabetics), require a colour coded sharps box suitable for the type of medication being administered.  Your GP or healthcare practitioner will prescribe the correct type of sharps box at the time of your diagnosis and will train you how to use it safely.

Once a sharps box is full (note the “fill line”) you should seal it to prevent accidents.  Sharps boxes must be disposed of appropriately, DO NOT place them in your bins at home.  You can take your sealed sharps boxes back to the GP or healthcare practitioner responsible for your prescription or to a local pharmacy.

Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (Doncaster CCG) and Doncaster Council have jointly commissioned a sharps box collection / delivery service for self-medicating patients in Doncaster.  A private company called ‘Sharpsmart’ operate this service, making collections of sealed sharps boxes from patient’s homes.  Your GP’s or healthcare practitioner can make a referral for your sharps boxes to be collected from home at the time of your diagnosis.

It is important that new patients have arrangements put in-place through their GP or Healthcare practitioner, requirements can change depending on the type of medicine being administering and your medical status.

Existing patients that simply need to change a home collection date or no longer require a sharps box collection can contact Sharpsmart directly, customer service can be contacted using the details below:

By phone:        01388 348 007

By email:         Doncaster@sharpsmart.co.uk

By post:           Unit 1, Enterprise City, Meadowfield Avenue, Spennymoor, DL16 6JF

Non-Infectious dressings

General household waste ordinarily contains plasters, dressings and incontinence products. Where the healthcare worker produces the same or similar items these can be double-bagged and placed in the black bin, with the householder’s permission ,provided the amount produced is relatively small (less than 7Kg per collection cycle is a useful indicator)

Stoma/catheter bags

If the householder is self-medicating with no healthcare worker involved, they are able to dispose of their own waste in the black bin. Stoma and /or catheter bags should be emptied into a toilet before being wrapped or bagged and placed in the black bin.

If a healthcare worker is involved in the care of a stoma patient, the waste from a stoma patient can be disposed of in the black bin, unless, following a ‘Clinical Assessment’, the classification changes eg Infectious.

Incontinence pads

Incontinence pads are only classed as Clinical Waste if the patient / resident producing them is suffering from an infectious disease. Non-infectious incontinence pads are normally classified as Offensive Waste and should be wrapped thoroughly before being put in your black bin. Infectious incontinence pads (Clinical Waste), as determined by clinical assessment, must be stored and collected separately from other waste. The healthcare practitioner should make suitable arrangements for its collection and disposal, not the resident.

Unwanted medicines

Unwanted medicines should be taken to your local pharmacist for secure destruction. GP’s also have a general duty of care to ensure the appropriate disposal of waste medicines that are returned by patients but it is preferable they are returned to a pharmacist directly.

 

What do I do if I find a discarded needle?

DO NOT attempt to pick up or remove a discarded needle yourself.

We will arrange to collect discarded needles safely and securely. If you see any of these lying around then please report this as soon as possible to us using the following e-form:  

Needle exchange

For information on needle exchange services which provide sterile injecting equipment to people who inject illicit drugs or non-prescribed drugs please see approved sites.

Last updated: 08 June 2021 17:37:39