Infectious Waste and How to Dispose of it Safely


In the UK and around the world, waste is classified into various categories. If you are running a business, it pays to be aware of the different categories, as each needs to be disposed in a specific way. Knowing which category your waste falls into will help you to decide how to handle it. You’ll also be able to complete the necessary paperwork that has to be handed to waste contractors. It is part of a business owners duty of care. Homeowners also need to be aware of the different categories, as certain types cannot be put in with the general household waste.

Different Types of Waste

  • Construction and demolition waste
  • Packaging waste and recyclables
  • Electronic and electrical equipment
  • Vehicle and oily wastes
  • Healthcare and related waste

Healthcare and Related Waste

Infectious waste comes under this category and is also known as clinical waste. It is classified as this because it could be hazardous to anyone that comes into contact with it. There are professional infectious waste collection, transportation and disposal services provided by private companies. Local councils also provide a similar service.

What is Infectious Waste?

Infectious waste includes:

  • Infectious bodily fluids such as blood and tissue
  • Swabs and dressings that may be infected
  • Syringes and needles

The Correct Disposal Method for Infectious Waste

The Hazardous Waste Regulations and The Hazardous Waste (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2005 lay out the correct procedure for disposing of infectious waste. It is the responsibility of the producer of the waste to determine whether it is hazardous and to follow the guidelines with regards its disposal. Special contractors can dispose of the waste, but certain paperwork has to be provided. This includes a consignment note and a return note. The consignment note will contain details of the company address and who is involved in the waste transfer process. The waste has to be described and given a European Waste Catalogue code. One copy is kept by the company producing the waste. The other by the waste collection service. Return notes are given on a quarterly basis and these provide details of the waste that has been collected and its EWC code. It also gives details of the storage and disposal methods that were used.

Business owners have a duty of care to document the transfer of any waste produced by the business. They are also responsible for ensuring the waster is handled and disposed of correctly.

Licensed contractors, such as Oates Environmental Limited, will be able to offer advice.

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