Similar to any hospital or medical clinic, veterinary practices also generate tons of waste material that needs to be disposed of in a compliant manner. However, you’ve probably not become a vet to learn the complexities of medical waste disposal. Unfortunately, improper or non-compliant waste disposal can result in penalties for your veterinary clinic. This guide discusses all the best veterinary waste disposal practices so that you can ensure complete compliance at all times.

What is Veterinary Waste?

Before understanding the disposal methods, it’s wise to look into the current classification of veterinary waste. As per UK regulations, veterinary waste is classified as:

Pharmaceutical Waste

Pharmaceutical waste consists of all medicines and drugs that have expired or are unneeded. These may contain chemicals that are harmful when improperly consumed and hence should be treated as hazardous waste. After collection by your contractor, this is likely to go for incineration.

Sharps Waste

Any sharp objects that need to be discarded – including damaged medical equipment, need to be placed in a specialized bin as they may tear through the general waste bag. They can also cause injuries if improperly disposed of.

Offensive Waste

As a vet, you may have to deal with various offensive waste such as animal excrement. While not hazardous, this must go in a separate bag so as to ensure proper treatment and environmental safety.

PPE Waste

PPE Waste includes all the personal protection equipment that you use as a medical professional. This may include aprons, medical gloves, masks, and in certain cases, even training pads for the animals you treat. Since many of these are high in plastic, they must be safely disposed of.

General Waste

General waste includes everyday, cling film, wrappers, and crisp packets etc. This waste doesn’t require any specific treatment and is safe to be disposed of in a black garbage bag.

Infectious Waste

You may already know how fast certain animal infections such as distemper can spread. Therefore, any items that may have come in contact with an infected animal must be disposed of in a black and yellow bin and sent for proper treatment before incineration.

Is Veterinary Waste the Same as Clinical Waste?

Yes, since veterinary practices provide medical services, their waste is officially termed clinical waste. This means that a lot of the waste generated at your practice would be deemed potentially hazardous, and it must be stored and disposed of in a safe manner.

What are the Best Practices for the Disposal of Veterinary Waste?

Vets are required to take proper care of all the waste they dispose of. You must ensure that all your waste is correctly segregated into its respective categories. This waste must be disposed of in the specified containers or bags provided by your contractor. If you need an update on the segregation rules, your contractor would be your best bet as they constantly update their knowledge of the local waste disposal regulations.

Final Thoughts

While at first, it may not seem like it, running a veterinary practice does involve quite a bit of waste management planning. In order to make your job easier, you should find a reliable contractor who can help manage all the waste disposal for your practice.


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