Healthcare activities restore health and save lives. We cannot imagine a world without doctors. But what about the by-products that healthcare institutes generate? Of the massive amounts of waste produced by the healthcare sector, nearly 15% is hazardous. Meaning it may be radioactive, toxic or infectious.

Hazardous waste resulting from healthcare activities contains harmful microorganisms, toxic pollutants and pathogens that have heinous effects on the environment and human health. And hospitals alone shouldn’t be blamed for this. Nursing homes, general practitioners’ clinics, autopsy centres, testing laboratories, blood banks, and veterinary practices – all generate healthcare waste.

This explains why clinical waste management requires increased awareness, diligence, thoughtful planning and a storage routine to ensure safe disposal. In this blog, we’ll share everything about the various kinds of healthcare waste, its storage regime and ethical disposal.

Types of Waste Produced in Healthcare Organisations

Healthcare waste comprises of a diverse range of waste materials, as the given list explains:

  • Infectious Waste: Materials contaminated with bodily fluids such as blood and waste from patients (swabs, bandages, etc.) carrying infections are all infectious medical wastes.
  • Sharps: Blades, syringes, metal tools, razors, fixed needles, pine needles etc. are all sharps that must be kept in puncture-proof bins only.
  • Pathological Waste: Human organs, tissues, and body parts are categorised as pathological waste.
  • Chemical Waste: Solvents used in lab preparations, sterilants, disinfectants as well as heavy metals (like mercury present in broken thermometers) are chemical waste.
  • Cytotoxic Waste: Waste made of substances having genotoxic properties is called cytotoxic waste. Primarily, cancer treatment generates cytotoxic and cytostatic waste.
  • Pharmaceutical Waste: Contaminated, unused and expired vaccines and drugs are all pharmaceutical waste.
  • Radioactive Waste: Radiotherapeutic materials, radioactive diagnostic materials or any object infected by radionuclides are radioactive wastes.
  • General Waste: Almost 85% of medical waste is general waste or non-hazardous waste, and paper, cardboard, plastic packaging etc. fall under this category.

Colour Coding Guide for Different Types of Waste Collection

  • Orange Bins: For non-hazardous and hazardous waste from patients (e.g. disposable PPE)
  • Yellow and Black Bag: For non-hazardous and non-infectious waste that can be recycled or incinerated (e.g. nappies, colostomy bags)
  • Blue Bins: For denatured drugs and non-hazardous medicines that don’t contain cytostatic or cytotoxic properties (e.g. bottled liquids)
  • Black Bins: For mixed municipal waste (e.g. flowers, food wrappers, packaging materials)
  • Red Bags: For anatomical waste like blood preserves, body parts and organs)
  • Purple Bags: Meant solely for cytostatic and cytotoxic waste (e.g. needles used after chemotherapy)
  • Yellow Bins: For highly infectious clinical waste (e.g. disposable PPE)

Clinical Waste Storage Routine

Strategic planning to store healthcare waste securely ensures a safe and healing environment for the patients, hospital staff and the general public. Waste must be collected and dumped into designated bins as soon as it is generated.

Once all the waste is collected in labelled and colour-coded bags, you have to store it properly till the time it is transported for treatment and disposal. Maintaining a waste register makes it easy to measure the total amount of waste produced and thus devise a management plan.

The Healthcare Waste Storage guidelines restrict storing of waste anywhere close to patient care zones such as the OT. Here are some basic safety measures to follow for maintaining medical waste storage areas:

  1. Access to storage areas must be granted to the authorised staff only.
  2. Waste storage zone should be away from the food storage area and sheltered from direct contact with the sunlight.
  3. Waterproof flooring with good sewage is recommended in the storage room.
  4. It must be protected from rodents and other vectors to avoid spreading germs.
  5. The area should be large enough to facilitate segregation into multiple categories.
  6. Separate compartments should be made for storing different kinds of waste.
  7. The entrance should have a warning sign to let people know that the area contains hazardous substances.
  8. It is also mandatory for anyone entering the storage area to be dressed in protective equipment.

Most Effective Ways to Dispose Healthcare Waste

Clinical waste disposal can be performed only by experts and with the help of the latest technologies. Professional waste management companies like Trikon rely on these three successful methods.

Encapsulation

Special precautions are compulsory for disposing of used scalpels, syringes and other sharps. The ideal way to dispose of sharps is by encapsulating them in puncture-resistant, labelled containers and depositing them in a landfill.

Chemical Disinfection

Certain kinds of biohazard waste (for instance, solid human waste) must be disinfected chemically before dumping them in the landfill. This step eliminates the risk of spreading germs.

Autoclaving

Autoclaving involves the usage of a heated container for destroying waste and 90% of clinical biohazard waste is incinerated or autoclaved.

Each of the above-mentioned methods is excellent in restricting infections from spreading to healthcare workers, patients, and the masses.

Why Team up With a Professional Clinical Waste Removal Company?

Trikon Clinical Waste Solutions is one of the leading waste management companies in the UK. We take pride in providing customised services in the collection, transportation and sustainable disposal of healthcare waste.

With 27000+ happy clients, here’s why you too should partner with us:

  • Trikon is a certified agency which possesses the expertise and legal permits to handle healthcare waste.
  • TCW’s caring and professional team don’t interfere with patient care.
  • Trikon offers customised solutions and always suggests what’s best for your hospital.
  • TCWS guarantees easy scheduling, 24-hour customer support and flexible waste disposal services.
  • Free site survey and zero hidden costs are the perks of collaborating with Trikon.

Summing Up

The bottom line is to remember that a healthcare organisation should heal people, not infect them. Taking simple steps like minimising waste production and seeking the help of a reliable waste disposal agency can make a large difference. So, if you are in need of affordable waste removal services in London, contact us Trikon today! We will help you run a clean and green hospital by safely removing all the waste.

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