Clinical waste poses a risk to public health, which increases greatly in the absence of proper handling and waste management procedures. Therefore, to reduce the risks you should follow these tips on clinical waste management. Not only will they ensure you are operating within your duty of care, you will also reduce costs associated with clinical waste disposal.
Before we go into the tips, it may be useful to outline the different disposal methods.
Steam sterilisation is a process that ensures the safe processing of clinical waste. The waste is enclosed in drum and sterilised using steam. The waste is then shredded and used as a fuel or is sent to landfill. The machinery used is autoclave or in our case at Novus Environmental a Rotaclave. Rotaclaves utilise a revolving drum that rotates the waste to ensure the steam sterilises all of the waste.
Clinical Waste Incineration
An alternative to steam sterilisation is incineration. Waste is incinerated at extremely high temperatures to ensure all hazardous materials are destroyed. The high-temperature heat generated through incineration can then be recycled as heat energy. As a result the incineration process reduces the mass of the original waste by more than 80%, and the volume of the clinical waste by over 95%, the remaining ash goes to landfill.
Clinical waste management tips
Segregate your waste at the point of production
The use of colour coded waste containers allows waste segregation at the point of production. Above all, segregating waste ensures the correct and safe disposal of your waste streams. As disposing of clinical waste is more expensive than other waste streams, making sure that your waste streams are separate can drive cost savings within your organisation.
Display advice on waste segregation
Avoid cross-contamination of your waste by providing visual reminders on which waste stream goes into which coloured waste bin. You may like to use the Novus Environmental waste segregation poster.
Promote good infection control policies
You can take some simple steps to prevent the spread of infection and avoid animals and children from getting into the waste:
- Do not overfill clinical bags or waste containers
- Dispose all soft clinical waste in a foot operated pedal bin
- Store all clinical waste safely and securely
Provide regular clinical waste training
As staff move on and new members join the team, it is important to keep training up to date on your particular processes. By conducting regular training, you ensure that there are no excuses for poor waste management practices.
Ensure you remain compliant with UK Regulations
As a waste producer, you have a “Duty of Care” to ensure the correct and proper management of waste within your organisation.
- Complete a waste transfer note for all non-hazardous waste produced
- Complete a hazardous waste consignment note for all hazardous waste
- Register with the Environment Agency if you produce more than 500kg of hazardous waste per annum
- Only allow an authorised waste collection company to collect the waste
Partner with a reliable waste management company
When choosing a waste management company we recommend you find a provider with the following:
- the correct permits to transport and process clinical waste
- their own fleet of ADR compliant vehicles
- onsite treatment facilities