Colour coding for waste disposal helps with the fundamental separation of various waste categories generated at the source.

It also aids in lowering the hazards and costs associated with handling and disposal. As waste endangers the health and well-being of the environment, and appropriate waste management is critical for maintaining hygiene, aesthetics, cleanliness, and pollution control.

Colour Codes for Waste Disposal

Waste disposal colour codes change from country to country and also differ in various organisations. It may also vary for plastics, recyclables, metals, glassware, radioactive items, etc.. to separate them according to the recycling needs.

Here are Some Examples of Colour Coding

1. Yellow

It is considered to be clinically highly infectious which is for pathogens. This waste requires incineration as a method of disposal. Used PPE kits and garments infected by bodily fluids or medicinal fluids are considered to be disposed of under this category.

2. Orange

It is used for hazardous and non-hazardous waste from patients suspected of infectious diseases. Medical waste and anatomical waste should not be mixed with this stream of waste.

3. Black and Yellow

It is often known as the tiger stripe offensive waste stream. This waste can be either recycled, incinerated or deep landfilled. Any waste that does not come in contact with bodily fluids can be disposed of in this bag or container.

4. Purple

The purple waste stream is for hazardous waste that has been polluted by chemotherapy-related pharmaceuticals and some medicines that have cytotoxic or cytostatic properties.

5. Red

The colour red represents the anatomical waste stream, which incorporates all body parts that must be disposed of and is most usually linked with surgical treatments. This waste stream is made up of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste. This waste stream is incinerated.

The colour code for biomedical waste disposal and waste disposal are not the same. You can read more about the Colour code of biomedical waste disposal.


Waste may be defined as stuff that we discard because we no longer require it. Waste has been with us since our inception on this planet. Waste cannot be completely eliminated. What we can do is strive to keep our waste creation to a bare minimum. Colour coding is one such method in the waste disposal methods to improve and enhance the waste disposal strategy.

Whether you are a healthcare professional, you run a hospital or anyhow associated with the medical field, waste management and disposal is something you need to be very cautious about.

We at TCW operate throughout the UK helping healthcare institutions effectively manage waste and reduce the risk of contamination and infection due to hazardous waste. Check out our other blogs on the TCW website.

Let us know if we are of any help to you!

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