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Clinical waste is an umbrella term for the kinds of waste typically produced within healthcare or well-being facilities. All types of clinical waste must be stored, removed, and disposed of safely and securely, as they could be infectious. Effective clinical waste management helps reduce the risk to human health and the environment.

At Divert, we collect and dispose of clinical waste from any organisation safely and responsibly. We provide free bins, bags, and containers to store all types of medical waste properly on your premises before it’s removed by our licensed waste carriers.

Call 01904 295 985 or contact us online today for a free quote for clinical waste collection in the UK.

Clinical Waste Collection

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What is clinical waste?

Clinical waste is any waste produced from healthcare and similar industries that could pose a risk to human health or the environment through exposure. Types of clinical waste could be contaminated, infectious, or hazardous with the potential to cause an infection or disease.

Examples of clinical waste include pharmaceutical products and used healthcare products such as bandages, syringes, swabs, or medicine that may prove hazardous. Sharps waste is another common example of clinical waste, which includes anything that can cut, pierce, or stab the skin, such as scalpels, needles, and broken vials.

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Types of clinical

There are various types of clinical waste and it’s important to understand the differences to ensure each one is stored and disposed of safely. The main types of clinical waste are:

  • Infectious clinical waste. Any products contaminated with blood or bodily fluids, such as bandages, swabs, and other dressings. It also includes PPE and Covid testing supplies.
  • Offensive clinical waste. Offensive clinical waste refers to products that may ‘offend’ those that come into contact with them, as they’re rather unpleasant. However, most aren’t infectious. This includes products such as incontinence pads, nappies, and wipes.
  • Clinical sharps waste. Clinical sharps waste refers to sharp and potentially contaminated and hazardous waste products such as needles, lancets, and syringes.
  • Anatomical clinical waste. Anatomical waste is any waste made from human or animal tissue or blood, which includes pathological waste.
  • Cytotoxic and cytostatic waste. Cytotoxic and cytostatic waste types are products hazardous to human health and contaminated by cytotoxic and cytostatic drugs. This could include expired or surplus medication, alongside the packaging used to contain these substances.
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How does clinical waste collection 
and disposal work?

Start with a free quote for clinical waste collection based on your needs. Tell us what types of clinical waste you need to dispose of, how much, how often, and where you’re based. We can help work out the best types and sizes of bins you need and an efficient, cost-effective clinical waste removal plan.

Then we’ll deliver free clinical waste bins, bags, and containers to your premises for you to fill with the relevant medical waste. Our licensed waste carriers will come at the agreed time and date to remove your clinical waste and transport it to a nearby waste management facility.

Most clinical waste disposal is done through incineration. High temperatures destroy the organic substances and any infectious and hazardous elements. Some types of clinical waste may be disposed of by thermal disinfection systems, such as dressings, swabs, and gowns. This removes any hazardous elements before the waste can be recycled or disposed of responsibly.

All clinical waste we collect is disposed of safely, legally, and diverted away from landfill. You receive a free duty of care certificate confirming its safe disposal for your records. Enjoy peace of mind that your medical waste is removed and disposed of without harming human health or the environment with Divert.

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Clinical waste facts

According to a recent report, the NHS produces 600,000 tonnes of waste each year. This includes 156,000 tonnes of clinical waste every year from secondary care in England. Estimations show each of the 1,500 UK hospitals also create approximately 2,250 tonnes of PVC waste, with masks, oxygen masks and tubing as the most used medical PVC items.

Most of this waste will likely be classified as clinical waste, but healthcare services also produce large volumes of general waste, mixed recycling, and food waste. Of all the waste produced within healthcare facilities, around 15% of the waste is considered hazardous to human health and the environment.

A report from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF found that only 58% of countries have adequate systems in place to dispose of their healthcare waste. As clinical waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms, if it is disposed of incorrectly, it can pollute water sources such as lakes, streams, and rivers. This also threatens marine life.

Clinical waste 
bins, bags and containers

The safe storage of all clinical waste must be a priority by all healthcare providers due to its hazardous nature. This means selecting the right clinical waste bin, bag, or container for the specific medical waste type. At Divert, we can provide free clinical waste bins and storage solutions, including:

Orange clinical waste bags (infectious waste)

Purple waste bags (cytotoxic and cytostatic waste)

Red waste bags (anatomical waste)

Yellow clinical waste bags (highly infectious waste)

Yellow and black tiger waste bags (clinical non-infectious waste)

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Sharps bins/containers

Regular inspections should be carried out of your bins and containers to ensure they’re not damaged. We will collect and dispose of your clinical waste securely and responsibly, making sure it doesn’t pose a risk either to human health or the environment. Delivery of all clinical waste containers is free – you only pay for collection.

  • Red clinical waste bags (anatomical waste)

    Clinical waste bags for organs, body parts, blood bags, animal organs, body parts, placentas, tissue samples.

  • Orange clinical waste bags (infectious waste)

    Orange clinical waste bags for infectious waste types such as bandages, wipes, dressings, gloves, PPE and aprons.

  • Yellow and black clinical waste bags (non-infectious waste)

    Non-infectious waste bags for incontinence pads, sanitary waste, nappies and wipes, disposable garments, PPE, emptied colostomy bags, swabs

  • Purple waste bags (cytotoxic and cytostatic waste)

    Purple clinical waste bags for cytotoxic and cytostatic waste including blister packs, gloves, wipes, and medicinal vials.

  • Yellow waste bags (highly infectious waste)

    Yellow clinical waste bags for infectious waste like bandages, gauze, PPE, disposable garments, gloves, aprons, and bedding.

  • White waste bins (dental amalgam waste)

    Dental waste containers for unwanted amalgam, teeth with fillings, and capsules containing residues.

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How to reduce 
clinical waste

Reducing clinical waste is essential to limit the risk to human health and the environment. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities can take various steps to reduce the amount of clinical waste they produce. To limit the clinical waste your facility creates you should:

  • Provide employees with access to the appropriate clinical waste bins and containers to store and manage medical waste efficiently.
  • Install signs throughout the facility to inform employees of the steps they should take to segregate waste properly.
  • Keep on track of all medical products stored within the facility. This ensures that all medicines are used within the correct time frame and don’t expire before use.
  • Store all medications according to their specific instructions. For example, certain medicines need storing in cool, dry places, whereas others must be refrigerated.
  • Source reusable products for use within the facility, so they don’t need disposing of so frequently.

Who produces 
clinical waste

Clinical waste is often produced within healthcare settings. However, places such as beauty salons and tattoo parlours also produce clinical waste with the use of needles, masks, gloves, and other products in contact with human bodies. Some of the main places that    produce many types of clinical waste are:

  • Hospitals and doctors’ surgeries. Doctors’ offices, hospitals, dental practices, and health centres typically produce the largest volumes of clinical waste. In addition to bandages, garments, and PPE, they also produce clinical waste in the form of expired or used medications.
  • Veterinary practices. A large volume of the tools and medications needed to treat humans are also used to help animals feel better. Veterinary practices or animal shelters also produce large volumes of clinical waste. For example, any surgical procedures carried out within these premises will require the use of sharps.
  • Pharmacies. Pharmacies also produce large amounts of clinical waste, such as expired or surplus medications, bandages, PPE, and sharps.
  • Dental practices. High volumes of dental amalgam waste and various types of sharps waste are produced by dentists, which require proper storage, collection, and disposal.
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Why use Divert for
clinical waste disposal?

Running a healthcare facility comes with many stresses and challenges – don’t let waste management be one of them. At Divert, we can help make your facility eco-friendlier through our zero-landfill policy and unique approach to clinical waste management. Arrange clinical waste removal on a daily, weekly, or fortnightly basis. We can also:

  • Provide you with access to free bins, bags, and containers.
  • Offer expert advice on all areas of clinical waste disposal – helping you reduce how much medical waste you produce.
  • Put together a clinical waste collection schedule specifically tailored to your organisation. For example, we can ensure medical waste is collected outside of your business hours.
  • Save time, energy, and money by dealing with the problematic aspects of clinical waste disposal.
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I have just signed up for clinical waste and sharps collections. James was extremely helpful, polite and knowledgeable. Looking forward to working with Divert
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Book clinical waste collection

Get a free quote for clinical waste collection today – call 01904 295 985 or contact us online. Let us know the types of clinical waste bins you need, how often you want them collected, and where you’re based in the UK for a tailored no obligation quote. Speak to one of our friendly and expert team for a fast answer to any questions.

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Clinical waste

  • Where do you provide clinical waste collection?

    Clinical waste collection is available anywhere in the UK with Divert. We provide clinical waste solutions to many organisations in and around Yorkshire, with a particular focus on:

  • Why is clinical waste hazardous?

    Clinical waste is hazardous as it may contain potentially harmful microorganisms. These can infect people and animals and pollute the environment, such as flora and fauna, and water sources. Unless proven to be non-infectious, all clinical and medical waste should be treated as hazardous waste.

    Clinical waste and healthcare waste may be hazardous or non-hazardous. Like all waste types, it must be classified and assessed appropriately. Clinical waste can be hazardous as it could be contaminated by an infectious person or medically contaminated. This in turn could infect someone else. Therefore, careful and responsible clinical waste disposal is key.

  • Where should clinical waste be stored?

    Clinical waste should be stored in a specific clinical waste bin, bag, or container. Clinical waste bins and bags are colour-coded to separate medical waste and reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Filled clinical waste storage containers awaiting collection should be kept in a secure area or room away from the public, areas away from watercourses and sensitive perimeters.

  • What is a clinical waste bag?

    A clinical waste bag is a special and colour-coded bag used for the safe storage of specific types of medical waste. They’re clearly labelled so their contents are clear. Any waste that has been infected or contaminated with medicines or chemicals or bodily fluids should go into a clinical waste bag.

    Our clinical waste bags are made from strong, durable materials. This reduces the chance of these bags breaking or getting damaged during both storage and transit.

  • What colour are clinical waste bags?

  • How do you tie a clinical waste bag?

    A clinical waste bag should only be two-thirds full and filled no higher than the ‘Do not fill’ line. The neck of the bag can be twisted, doubled over and either fastened with a plastic seal or tied in a secure knot. This is to prevent any clinical waste from escaping.

    Once tied, it should be stored upright in a safe location where it can be collected by the council or a waste management service such as Divert.

  • How often should clinical waste be disposed of?

    How often you should dispose of clinical waste depends on how much waste storage room is available and the type of medical waste. You can store:

    • Cytotoxic and cytostatic drugs, medicines, and dental amalgam for up to six months.
    • Infectious clinical waste and offensive waste can be stored for up to seven days outside or up to 14 days inside.
    • Refrigerated anatomical waste can be stored for up to 14 days
    • Unrefrigerated anatomical waste can be stored for 24 hours or up to 72 hours if it’s a weekend.

    We strongly recommend frequent collections of infectious or hazardous clinical waste to protect human health and the environment. At Divert we provide daily, weekly, and fortnightly (as well as one-off) collections of clinical waste.

  • Who collects clinical waste?

    Some local councils and authorities may collect clinical waste, but most businesses use specialist clinical waste management providers like Divert. Unlike the council, Divert’s rubbish collection and junk removal services are flexible to any environment and its unique demands. Households, businesses, and organisations have seen us rise to the occasion time and time again.

    We collect medical waste and think before we dispose of it – to ensure your waste doesn’t end up in more landfill. Licensed waste carriers will collect any type of medical waste from your premises and transport it to a relevant waste management facility for safe, legal, and eco-friendly disposal.

  • How do you dispose of sharps waste?

    You must dispose of sharps waste in the correct colour-coded container, depending on what the waste type is and arrange for the box to be collected by a professional, such as Divert. Once collected, sharps waste is taken to the correct disposal facility.

    Depending on if the waste is infectious or not, the infectious waste will be incinerated, and the non-infectious waste will be sterilised.

    The sterilisation process means that sharps waste is no longer considered biomedical waste once it has been effectively decontaminated. Here, they can be sanitised by using a machine called an autoclave which uses pressurised steam and water to sterilise the equipment.

  • What is sharps waste collection?

    Sharps waste collection is the removal of any sharps waste that has been disposed of in a sharps box or container. The goal of sharps waste collection is to safely collect and handle all materials until they can be properly disposed of.

    At Divert, we provide you with many colour-coded bins to help with your medical waste collection. Then, we will collect sharps bins at times that suit you and transport them to the appropriate disposal facility.

  • What is sharps waste management?

    Sharps waste management is the safe disposal and storage of any sharp objects, including their storage, collection, and disposal. The combination of potential contamination with pathogens and the ability to pierce the skin makes it one of the most dangerous wastes produced in healthcare.

    As such, a comprehensive sharps waste management plan is essential. That’s why Divert offers a variety of free sharps bins and collection services. Once filled we can collect your sharps bins at a time that suits you before taking them to an appropriate disposal facility.

  • What type of waste should be put in a sharps container?

    Sharps material is a type of clinical waste that’s considered sharp and could puncture the skin. Because of this, sharps waste needs to be put in a sharps container. The most common examples of sharps waste include syringes, scalpels, insulin pens, needles, razor blades, and piercing guns. Knives, pins, staples, and contaminated glass are also sharps waste.

    Sharps bins come with different coloured lids to help separate waste types and avoid contamination. They’re typically used in the medical, science, and beauty industries. As such, all organisations including hospitals, beauty salons, and tattoo parlours require a comprehensive sharps waste collection and disposal plan.

  • What colour is a sharps bin?

    Sharps bins have a yellow, orange, purple, red, or blue lid. Different types of sharps waste items go in different coloured bins to prevent cross-contamination and ensure safe disposal of the waste. Sharps bin colours are used for each of the following waste types:

    • Orange-lidded sharps bin – non-pharmaceutical sharps waste, such as tattoo needles.
    • Yellow-lidded sharps bin – medical sharps waste, such as syringes.
    • Purple-lidded sharps bin – hazardous cytotoxic and cytostatic waste, such as some cancer treatment medication.
    • Red-lidded sharps bin – anatomical waste, such as recognisable human body parts.
    • Blue-lidded sharps bin – solid medicinal waste in its packaging, such as pills in a blister pack.
  • What colour sharps bin is used for needles?

    There are three different coloured sharps bins that needles can go in, depending on the circumstances. These are:

    • Yellow sharps bin – if a needle is medically contaminated.
    • Orange sharps bin – when a needle is not medically contaminated (used to take blood from someone with no known infection).
    • Purple sharps bin – if a needle is contaminated with cytotoxic and cytostatic waste.
  • What goes in a yellow sharps bin?

    Any sharp instrument contaminated with a medical or chemical product should go in a yellow sharps bin. Examples include medical residues such as medically contaminated needles or syringes. However, if the product has cytotoxic and cytostatic properties, then it must go in a purple sharps bin.

  • What goes in a purple sharps bin?

    Sharps bins with a purple lid are for hazardous cytotoxic or cytostatic waste. antiviral or antibiotics, hormone-based drugs. Cytotoxic refers to a substance that kills off human cells, with cytostatic being used to promote cell growth.

    These can refer to medicines (or active agents) such as antiviral or antibiotics, or hormone-based drugs which are used to treat cancer, such as a needle and drip. Other examples include patches, vials, and blister packs.

  • What goes in an orange sharps bin?

    Orange-lidded sharps bins are used for sharp instruments that contain blood and contain no medical or pharmaceutical products that are chemically or medically contaminated. Examples include a used syringe that has taken a blood sample, scalpel blades, or contaminated broken glass.

    Orange sharps bins are also used in private practices with beauty treatments, such as acupuncture, podiatry, and tattoo inking. These all require correct sharps disposal.

  • What goes in a red sharps bin?

    A red-lidded sharps bin is used to store anatomical waste. Examples include blood bags, body parts, or any other recognisable anatomical items that may be offensive to those who come into contact with such items.

    As anatomical waste is classified as being potentially hazardous, clinical facilities must ensure that the appropriate bags and containers are used on-site. In these cases, our expertly designed red clinical waste bags are the perfect solution for all forms of anatomical waste.

  • What goes in a blue sharps bin?

    A blue-lidded sharps bin isn’t for sharp items. They’re used to store prescription-only medicine safely and securely that’s out of date or has been partially used. Examples include solid medicinal waste in its original packaging (such as pills in a blister pack).

    The blue-lidded container is for the disposal of medicine that excludes any that are cytotoxic or cytostatic. The purple-lidded container is for the disposal of cytotoxic or cytostatic medicines.

  • What is a sharps waste bin?

    A sharps bin is a type of waste container used to temporarily store used sharp or medical items before transportation to the appropriate medical disposal facility. Sharps material is a type of biomedical waste that consists of used needles, knives, or other sharp tools that puncture human or animal skin.

    Sharps bins are different colours so waste types can be separated. Our bins have lockable, tamper-resistant lids. They’re also made of hard-wearing plastic, so they are puncture resistant and leakproof.

    All waste should be stored in the appropriate containers before disposal, but safely storing sharps materials is particularly important. This is due to the health and safety risk associated with sharps. For example, if not stored correctly, those handling or disposing of the sharps waste could be at risk if the products cut, scrape, or pierce their skin. This risk is made worse if the sharps have come into contact with any infectious materials.

  • How do you use a sharps bin?

    There are a few key steps to follow to use a sharps bin safely:

    • Items should be placed in a sharps bin as soon as they’ve been used and should never be taken out.
    • A sharps bin should not be filled above the fill line and an item should never be left sticking out of a bin.
    • You should never try to open a locked sharps bin.
    • Store a sharps bin in a safe area that is out of reach of children and pets.
  • What colour sharps bin is for blood?

    Orange-lidded sharps bins are used for sharp items that only contain blood and no other medical products or contaminants. These containers are commonly used in the healthcare industry during operations and include syringes used to take blood samples. It’s advised that clinical infectious waste is stored in bright orange bags to eliminate the chance of these products being thrown in the general waste bin.

    Red-lidded bins are used for anatomical waste such as blood bags. Our red clinical waste bags can be used to store:

    • Organs
    • Body parts
    • Blood bags
  • What happens to sharps waste?

    Sharps waste is often incinerated, especially if it’s potentially infectious. Some medical centres also separate the waste into two categories – infectious and non-infectious, and then incinerate the infected waste.

    Sharps waste is no longer considered biomedical waste once it has been effectively decontaminated. It can be sanitised by using a machine called an autoclave, which uses pressurised steam and water to sterilise the equipment.

  • Where do you dispose of a sharps bin?

    With Divert you can arrange for us to collect your full sharps bins. We will collect and dispose of this clinical waste, preventing it from harming the environment or public health. The disposal method depends on whether the sharps waste is infectious or not. Infectious waste will be incinerated, and the non-infectious waste will be sterilised.

  • Where can I buy a sharps bin?

    You can buy a sharps container online or in any retailer that specialises in tools or medical supplies. If you go through a specialist waste management service such as Divert, we can offer you a range of free sharps bins and containers to suit your needs. There are no purchase or rental fees – you only pay for collection.

    All our sharps waste bins are made from highly durable materials, reducing their chances of being pierced or damaged during storage and transit. They’re also sealable and lockable. Using sharps bins ensures all waste produced within your facility will be appropriately managed.

  • How do you open a sharps bin?

    If you accidentally close the lid of a sharps container, you can only use a hardware tool, such as a screwdriver, to pry it open. If there is a sharps box with sharps waste inside, do not try to open the lid again. For your safety, you should use a brand-new sharps container.

  • How do you dispose of medical sharps waste at home?

    Residents using medical sharps at home should place them into a sealed sharps box, which can be acquired from a GP or pharmacy. When your sharps box is full you can return it to a GP’s surgery for safe disposal. Some local councils also offer a collection service.

    For medically contaminated waste, the yellow waste stream is used for waste that has been produced from the treatment of infectious patients, or waste that is medicinally contaminated. Yellow-stream waste should be sent for incineration at a suitably authorised facility.

    Yellow-lidded sharps units are for sharps waste used in the administration of or are contaminated by, medicines other than those that are cytotoxic and cytostatic, which should be put in a purple bin.

    You should not put used needles or other sharps in your household waste, recycling bin or another general rubbish bin or in a container (such as a drink can or bottle). Used medical sharps can cause injuries and may carry blood-borne viruses that can be transmitted.

  • How do you dispose of waste and sharps in hairdressing?

    Around 45,000 hairdressers are operating in the UK. Responsible and correct disposal of all clinical waste is key. Any contaminated waste should go in a clinical waste bin and any sharps waste should go in the correct colour-coded sharps container.

    All types of sharps from your business need to be disposed of in secure, yellow hazardous waste bins. Liquid hair dye and other chemicals are classed as hazardous waste. This is due to the damage they can cause to the environment.

    Clinical waste needs to be separated from normal waste, as well as different types of sharps waste. At Divert, we can advise and provide your hairdressing salon with all the correct bins and collect them at a time that suits you and your business.

  • When should a sharps bin be locked and disposed of?

    Sharps containers must be changed when the waste/contents reach the fill line (which is never more than three-quarters full) or become malodorous. Read the manufacturer’s instructions if unsure. Once the container is locked, if appropriate, label it in permanent ink with the date and name and signature of the person locking it.

    It should then be stored safely and securely locked until it’s collected and sent for disposal.