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What Is Bio-Hazardous Waste?

Biohazardous waste is any biological residue that is potentially dangerous to human or animal health, such as:

• human blood and its components, in liquid or semi-liquid form, dried or not • human body fluids (including semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid and saliva) , in liquid or semi-liquid form, dried or not

• Human pathological waste: all human tissues, organs and body parts

• animal waste: all animal carcasses and body parts

• microbiological waste: laboratory by-products containing infectious agents (including discarded specimen cultures, stocks of causative agents, discarded live and attenuated viruses, waste from the production of biologics and sera, disposable culture dishes and devices used for transport, inoculation and crop mix)

• sharps waste: medical sharps such as scalpels, needles, glass slides, scalpels, glass pipettes, broken glasses that have been contaminated with potentially infectious material.

To help laboratories and healthcare providers navigate the strict legislation on hazardous waste disposal, the Department of Health has created the following classification:

Offensive waste

This is non-clinical waste that is non-infectious and does not contain pharmaceuticals or chemicals, but can be unpleasant to anyone who comes into contact with it.

You must separate offensive healthcare waste from both clinical and mixed municipal waste.

If you have produced more than 7 kg of municipal aggressive by-products or have more than one bag in a collection period, you must separate them from any mixed municipal waste.

If you have produced less, you can dispose of your aggressive waste in your mixed municipal waste (“black bag”).

Gypsum and similar waste

Most gypsum byproducts are non-infectious. It should be kept separate from any plaster waste that is infectious, which should be placed in the infectious clinical waste stream in bags.

Waste drugs

A drug is considered cytotoxic or cytostatic for classification purposes if it is any of the following:

• acutely toxic

• carcinogenic

• mutagenic

• toxic to reproduction

Sharps and related by-products

The safe handling and disposal of sharps is vital to ensure that the risks associated with handling sharps are eliminated and to ensure compliance with the Hazardous Waste Regulations (Special Waste Regulations in Scotland).

Disposal of sharps is determined by pharmaceutical contamination. To ensure compliance with hazardous waste regulations, proper separation and storage of sharps in special color-coded bins and containers is essential.

• Orange bins-For the storage and disposal of sharps that do not contain or are contaminated with drugs, such as sharps used for blood samples and acupuncture

• Yellow bins-For storing and disposing of sharps that are contaminated or contain drugs or anesthetics

• Purple bins-For disposal of sharps and drugs with cytotoxic or cytostatic content or contamination

• Blue bins-For disposal of obsolete drugs, used drug denaturation kits and discarded items from use in handling pharmaceutical products, such as bottles or boxes with residues, gloves, masks, connecting tubes, syringe bodies and drug vials Anatomical waste.

Anatomical surgical waste requires special containment and must be stored, transported and disposed of as hazardous waste to ensure that there is no risk to human health or the environment.

Anatomical waste includes:

• Parts of human body

• Instruments

• Blood bags and blood cans

Laboratory chemicals and photochemicals

Hazardous chemical waste includes:

• Waste classified as ‘hazardous’ in the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 as amended in 2016 (Schedules 1 and 2) or in the ‘Waste List’ of the European Waste Inventory (EWC).

• Other waste exhibiting one or more of the hazardous properties (HP1 to HP15) listed in the Regulations (see Environment Agency Guidance WM3).

Any medical material or other equipment (such as gloves, towels, used dressings and bandages, tubing) that has been in contact with hazardous materials and therefore has more than trace elements of these materials is also classified as hazardous waste.

The Environmental Protection Act includes a ‘Duty of Care’ which requires all persons involved in the management of waste, including producers, to take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure that:

• Waste is stored, treated, deposited or disposed of only in accordance with a waste management permit or other authorization.

• The waste does not escape the owner’s control.

• Waste is only taken to authorized persons, such as registered waste haulers or licensed disposal companies that are allowed to accept this type of waste.

• All waste transfers/movements are accompanied by an appropriate written description of the waste that will allow the identification of the waste and its subsequent proper handling.

All Waste Matters offers specialist laboratory waste disposal services to an extensive customer base across the UK, from commercial laboratories to schools, colleges and universities.

From our fully licensed waste management facilities in Kent, we can offer a tailored laboratory waste disposal and collection service for any unwanted chemicals and laboratory waste.

We collect with our own vehicles and our licensed laboratory waste disposal facility is regularly inspected by the Environment Agency.

This is necessary to provide our customers with complete peace of mind and to ensure that laboratory waste is managed to meet and exceed all recommended guidelines.

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