What Happens to Clinical Waste?

For many sectors, understanding how to dispose of clinical waste is part of everyday life. Whether it’s nurses in the NHS, dentists in their practice or even tattoo artists in their salon, for many people handling clinical waste is a regular occurrence.    

Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that fully understanding this information is more important than ever before, particularly as personal protective equipment, or PPE as its commonly known, falls into this category. 

At Envirotec Hygiene Services, we have years of experience in clinical waste disposal, helping organisations, both large and small, safely and effectively discard all manner of waste products. 


clinical waste disposal bins

What is Clinical Waste?

Often, businesses and medical practices may be dealing with a wide range of waste products, so it’s important to know which is which. Clinical waste, (sometimes referred to as medical waste), is any waste product found in a medical setting. 

This could be drugs and medicines, items contaminated with human substances such as blood, mucus, tissue or vomit and items like needles, dressings and swabs. It’s vitally important that clinical waste is disposed of correctly, if not, infections can spread and harm can be caused to both people and the environment. 

What are the Different Types of Clinical Waste?

There are four categories of clinical waste. These are:

  • Infectious waste – the most common type of clinical waste, this waste refers to anything that’s been contaminated by blood, pus, mucus, urine, faeces, saliva, vomit, tissue or skin. PPE items would be classified as infectious waste products as they often come into contact with these substances.
  • Sharps waste – any object that can puncture or lacerate skin must be disposed of in a certain way. This typically refers to needles, pins, scissors, scalpels and blades and even sharp bones or teeth. 
  • Anatomical waste – this refers to human or animal body parts and organs or even heavily blood-soaked dressings. 
  • Medicine waste – drugs and medicines have their own category of clinical waste and need to be properly disposed of. 

What Happens to Clinical Waste? 

So, now you’re familiar with the different types of clinical waste, let’s look at the various waste disposal journeys each type of waste goes on.

When dealing with infectious waste, it’s important to seal the items in thick, colour-coded plastic bags and then place these bags in bins. These bins need to be stored in a safe place on your premises until your waste disposal team, such as Envirotec Hygiene Services, can come and take it away. Hard infectious waste is then automatically sent for incineration while softer waste may be sterilised or incinerated. 

Sharps are among the most hazardous items of clinical waste and can pierce through objects and skin. With this in mind, bags are not suitable so sharp waste products must be discarded in plastic bins. These bins are yellow and clearly marked with the British safety numbers 7320 and UN 3291.      

Any anatomical waste, such as body parts, organs and blood-soaked dressings, must be stored in refrigerated units before being placed into plastic bags, and then in containers that are kept in wheelie bins. They will then be taken to incineration facilities. 

Finally, medicine waste is sorted into two categories: hazardous and non-hazardous. The hazardous medicine should be put in a clearly labelled, yellow sharps container. Both types of medicine will be then taken to medical centres, all of which have different processes in place. 

Envirotec Hygiene Services’ Clinical Waste Disposal   

If you own or work in an environment that handles clinical Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham waste in Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham or further afield, Envirotec Hygiene Services is here to help. We understand that the various legislation and regulations can be confusing, which is why we provide clinical waste services including disposal and the supply of waste bins to organisations large and small. For more information on how we can help you, get in touch today.