Shop Online

Everything You Need to Know About Hazardous Waste Management

Everything You Need to Know About Hazardous Waste Management

At Devon Contract Waste, we provide a range of recycling services to help businesses keep their workplaces clean and hygienic. We offer plastic recycling, green waste recycling, food waste recycling and much more. Something we specialise in is clinical waste. It’s important that clinical waste is handled properly because it is something that can cause harm to humans, animals and the environment. There are many different businesses that need to use clinical waste services, from dental practices to tattoo parlours. Read on to discover how we can help your business.

What is clinical waste?

First things first, what actually counts as clinical waste? Clinical waste is any waste that consists of any sort of human or animal tissue, blood or bodily fluids and excretions or anything that is contaminated with biologically active pharmaceutical agents. Clinical waste is a term that encompasses many different types of waste and each requires its own segregation, transport, treatment and disposal requirements. It can sometimes be referred to as healthcare risk waste and will arise in a range of industries. Since the  COVID-19 pandemic, more and more clinical waste is being produced, even within companies that may not have handled it in the past.

Examples of clinical waste include:

  • Excretions
  • Drugs
  • Swabs
  • Needles
  • Syringes
  • Dressings

Who monitors clinical waste?

Because clinical waste holds a degree of danger, it has to be managed appropriately and it is controlled by legislation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This states that it is “Unlawful to deposit, recover or dispose of controlled waste without a management licence, or in any way that causes pollution of the environment or harm to human health”.

There are also a handful of other regulations to be aware of such as:

  • The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012
  • The hazardous Waste Regulations 2005
  • The Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations
  • Statutory Duty of Care Regulations

How should hazardous waste be sorted?

There are many types of clinical or hazardous waste that must be put in the correct container or bag for collection. This is based on the national colour coding system and helps to ensure the correct and safe disposal of clinical waste.

  • Yellow – Infectious waste for disposal by incineration
  • Orange – Infectious waste for disposal by treatment or incineration
  • Yellow/black (tiger) – Offensive/hygiene waste for disposal by deep landfill
  • Blue – Medicinal waste for disposal by incineration
  • Purple – Containing cytotoxic or cytostatic waste for disposal by incineration
  • Red – Anatomical waste for disposal by incineration

It’s vital that all hazardous waste is segregated properly when it is produced. If different types of clinical waste are mixed, this is considered illegal in England and Wales. This is because those that come into contact with it are aware of its nature and won’t accidentally mistake it for something that doesn’t need to be incinerated or treated.

What are the different types of clinical waste?

Now you know what colour bins to put different types of clinical waste into, what exactly are the different types and how do you know which bin to put it in? Below are the definitions of clinical waste:

  • Sharps – Any sharp objects or devices that are used to puncture or lacerate the skin. For example needles, syringes, blades etc.
  • Infectious waste – Anything that has been contaminated by blood or its by-products. Things like diagnostic samples that contain blood, bodily fluids, contaminated swabs/bandages or any other contaminated equipment.
  • Offensive waste – This covers non-infectious waste that is unpleasant for people to come into contact with. For example, hygiene waste, sanitary protection, nappies, incontinence pads etc.
  • Medical waste – This is most waste produced at healthcare facilities such as hospitals, dental practices, blood banks and veterinary clinics.
  • Cytotoxic/cytostatic – This covers any waste that contains cytotoxic or cytostatic medicines such as hormonal preparations, antiviral drugs, immunosuppressants and antibiotics
  • Anatomical – Anything directly from the body such as human tissue or blood and other heavily soaked materials like swabs and dressing.

What businesses require clinical waste disposal?

Different businesses need different kinds of waste disposal. Whether you are a restaurant that needs proper food composting or an office that needs paper recycling, waste management companies are there to help make sure your waste gets properly disposed of.

Doctor and dentists’ clinics

Medical facilities obviously produce a large amount of medical waste, similar to hospitals, which produce hazardous waste such as bandages, discarded medications, intravenous equipment, used needles and scalpels and many other items. This needs to be collected and disposed of by a commercial waste company that knows how to deal with it.

Tattoo parlours

Tattooists have many clients every day, and each requires a fresh needle. They also have to deal with blood, so most of their waste will be considered biohazardous and sharp. A bio-waste company must properly dispose of the waste for them.


You may not realise it but barbershops actually produce hazardous waste. The razors, scissors and hair clippers they use to cut hair are considered sharps and cannot be disposed of in normal waste collections. The hair cuttings from humans are also considered biohazardous waste as they may contain parasites. Therefore, all of this needs to be collected by a hazardous waste company.

Park management offices

The institutions that care for our parklands may run into hazardous waste from time to time. This can include dead animals and animal carcasses which need to be removed for sanitation reasons. Park management offices need to use hazardous waste companies to remove their waste for them.

Retirement homes

Residents in retirement homes or care homes may need a degree of medical care and a range of on-site health care services. Because of this, retirement homes can produce a considerable amount of medical waste such as medications, diapers, syringes and other incontinence devices. Therefore, it is necessary for clinical waste companies to collect the waste for them.

Public sanitation departments

Usually, public sanitation departments only handle municipal or household waste, so shouldn’t come into contact with hazardous waste. However, if they do, they must use the services of a clinical waste company to help them dispose of it.


Any animals that need care go to the vet clinic. They may give them medication through syringes, treat wounds or perform surgery. This in turn creates a lot of hazardous waste that cannot be disposed of like normal waste. Because these clinics produce hazardous waste, it must be dealt with properly.

Biology labs

Many different labs have to deal with many different types of waste. If a lab is working on vaccines, or pharmaceuticals or offers DNA tests, for example, they will deal with things such as pathogenic microorganisms, dangerous chemicals and body fluids. Because they produce biohazardous waste they need the services of a bio-waste company.

How to find a hazardous waste disposal company

If your business produces hazardous waste, it’s important to find a reliable hazardous waste management company that can provide clinical waste disposal services for your workplace. When looking for a hazardous waste disposal company, look for ones that are safe and secure and can provide you with a range of hazardous waste removal. Check if they can also offer you documented disposal, battery disposal, used oil filter disposal and waste oil disposal. If you can find one company to deal with all of your hazardous waste, it will make it much easier for you when arranging collections. The company should also provide robust drums that will ensure all hazardous waste is not going to leak or spill, as this could be very dangerous.

Choose Devon Contract Waste For Your Hazardous Waste Disposal

Are you in need of reliable clinical or hazardous waste disposal? Look no further than Devon Contract Waste. We are an Exeter-based waste disposal company, providing waste management solutions to a range of clients. We can provide tailored, responsible and eco-friendly waste solutions for your business. We aim to recycle as much as possible, from glass to plastic, our team has over 30 years of experience in waste management. Get in touch with our team today to learn more.

Scroll to Top