Clinical waste

What is clinical waste?

Clinical waste is the term used to describe waste produced from healthcare and similar activities that may pose a risk of infection, for example, swabs, bandages, dressings etc. or may prove hazardous, for example medicines. The most commonly used definition can be found in the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992

What is healthcare waste?

Healthcare Wastes are wastes listed in Chapter 18 of the European Waste Catalogue and arise from human and animal healthcare, i.e. from hospitals, GP surgeries, dental surgeries, veterinary surgeries etc.

Please note: Not all healthcare wastes are clinical wastes e.g. chemicals or medicines.

Assessing and classifying your clinical waste

Clinical waste and healthcare waste may be hazardous or non-hazardous and like all wastes it must be classified and assessed appropriately. Guidance on the classification and assessment of clinical waste as special (hazardous) waste can be found in the Appendix C9 to guidance document Waste classification: Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste (WM3).

SEPA position

Unless it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that 'healthcare wastes', i.e. those described by Chapter 18 of the EWC and EWC 20 01 31*, have been adequately segregated and categorised then SEPA's default position is that healthcare waste should be assumed to be special (hazardous) waste until and unless proved otherwise.

Management of clinical and healthcare waste

Clinical wastes and healthcare waste should be segregated from other types of waste and be treated/disposed of appropriately in suitably permitted, licensed or exempt facilities on the basis of the hazard it poses. Links to further guidance and good practice can be found in the column on the right hand side of the page.

Contact us

If you have any questions or require any further information or advice on any aspect of clinical or healthcare waste, please contact us.