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Clinical Waste Bags – The Complete Guide

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Clinical waste bags are used for both hazardous and non-hazardous waste, which need to be placed in a secure and safe place until collection. Not handling these materials correctly can result in spreading infections in both healthcare and cosmetic settings.

To keep you focused on running your practice, we offer free hazardous material audits to determine what you need so you can continue to focus on your valued patients.

We provide bags of all colours for all types of waste, from general to hazardous.

To learn more, read the clinical waste bag colour guide to see what type you need.

Of the total amount of waste generated by health-care activities, about 85% is general, non-hazardous waste.

Clinical waste bags stats

What bags should be used for clinical waste?

Contaminated or infectious waste should be disposed of with the use of clinical waste bags. Any waste that can potentially be harmful to human health would fall under this definition.

Each colour-coded bag comprises a set of guidelines for which waste items can be placed in them. This ensures that cross contamination is avoided and that the waste is properly disposed of.

Red clinical waste bags

Red bags should only be receiving biohazardous waste, including both liquid and solid harmful items. The anatomical waste produced and then stored in these bags must be sent for incineration.

red clinical waste bags

Any infectious waste should be disposed of in yellow bags, that includes waste which is contaminated with chemicals or pharmaceutical products.

yellow clinical waste bags

Orange clinical waste bags

Any infectious waste items that have chemical contamination on them should be placed in orange clinical waste bags. Empty IV bags, wipes and bandages should be placed into yellow bags granted that no chemicals have been added.

orange clinical waste bags

Yellow clinical waste bags with black stripes (tiger waste bags)

Any offensive waste should be placed into tiger bags. This would include any materials that have been used for the treatment of a non infectious person.

Should be used for receiving materials used to treat non-infectious patients:

  • PPE (masks aprons, gloves)
  • Wipes, plasters , dressings and bandages – non infectious
  • Incontinence waste – non infectious
  • Soiled sanitary towels and tampons – from public and work based female toilets
  • Nappies – from baby changing areas and nurseries.

This waste may be sent to landfill, or incineration, or AT.

Not suitable for:

Non-infectious waste, anatomical waste, placental waste, Cytostatic / Cytotoxic waste and domestic waste.

UN approved weight of 10kg – star sealed

How can I cut down on medical waste?

  1. Know your legislation. You need to be familiar with regulations for medical waste so you’ll know what is catagorised as “regulated medical waste” (waste that is contaminated by blood, body fluids or other infectious material) as apposed to other variants.
  2. Develop a formal waste management plan. No matter what type of refuse you are handling, you should always use a realistic waste management plan that you can consistently adhere to long-term. Share this plan with your staff so that everyone is aware and can adapt should unforeseen changes occur. Review your plan yearly so that you make necessary adjustments that reflect changes in your business. Update staff to any changes and make sure all are aware. Use multiple resources from instructional sessions to signs
  3. Try to avoid any single-use products whenever possible. One example is reusable sharps. You should check with local legislation to ensure that the item may be legally re-used.
  4. Use smaller medical bins in patient rooms. Choose smaller waste containers for the practice. Larger waste bins will encourage staff to place general rubbish into these bins as well. 
  5. Place different bin types away from one another. It’s easy for staff to mistake one bin for another when they are busy and their mind is occupied with other tasks. Placing bins in other locations reduces the risk of cross-contamination.
  6. Colour code containers. Ensure that the disposal unit type is obvious so that even distracted staff are less likely to mistake one bin for another.
  7. Waste audits. Do several spot checks throughout the year to ensure waste is still being disposed of correctly. Even the best employees can unintentionally become sloppy during busy periods and fall into bad habits.

What happens to clinical waste bags after collection?

Stay compliant and keep costs down

It is essential to segregate waste to ensure that it doesn’t become contaminated with other materials. Infectious waste bags are often clearly labeled with descriptions of allowed items for treatment and processing.

In the case that a practice fails to comply with clinical waste segregation regulations, all waste will collectively be treated as one mass and must be sent to a processing facility for incineration, which results in greater disposal cost. 

Contents are orange bag are considered high risk and therefore require heat treatment prior to being processed, whereas yellow bags my e sent straight to the incinerator. In addition to the colour coding used on clinical waste bags, they all feature labeling which provide further information regarding accepted waste types and capacity. 

Clear Bags – Mixed Dry Recycling

These bags should be used for the disposal of items similar to those for domestic use:

  • Paper / cardboard material
  • Paper towels
  • Newspapers or magazines
  • Clean plastics and tins.

This waste may be sent to an MRF (Materials Recovery Facility)

Need help disposing of your clinical waste?

If you are still unsure of what your annual fee will be for collections, get in touch with one of our advisors and we will provide you with a free consultation to determine your waste collections forecast costs.

“Can I get clinical waste collection near me? – Many businesses are concerned that waste collectors may struggle to reach their premises if they are in hard to reach locations. We service sites all across the UK and never turn down a customer based on their location.

We at waste managed have been collection bins for small to medium sized businesses for over 11 years and have been rated 4.5 stars on Trust Pilot.

To get set up, you just need to fill in our quick quote form and then one of our advisors will be in touch to go over the options available to find you the best deal.

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