The UK Rules
Healthcare Wastes

Healthcare and Related Wastes Codes

The common healthcare and related wastes includes materials and substances like medicines, plaster, laboratory chemicals, and sharps. The tables list most waste codes for healthcare waste disposed of in United Kingdom.

Review the technical guidance for additional classifications not found in these waste code tables. The asterisk (*) at the end of a code signifies that the waste is hazardous.

Business waste descriptions must include:

The Environment Agency produce waste classification technical guidance on how to assess and classify waste. It can help if you cannot find a code for your waste or you need information on classification, hazardous materials, or waste sampling.

Offensive Wastes

What is 'offensive waste'? It is non-clinical, non-infectious waste that does not contain pharmaceutical or chemical substances. But, anyone coming into contact with offensive waste may find it unpleasant.

TYPE OF WASTE STATUS HUMAN ANIMAL
Healthcare offensive waste (e.g. outer dressings and protective clothing such as gowns, gloves, and masks not contaminated with body fluids), and other sterilised laboratory waste Non-hazardous 18-01-04 18-02-03
Municipal offensive waste (e.g. hygiene waste and sanitary protection such as incontinence pads and nappies) Non-hazardous 20-01-99 20-01-99

You will need to segregate healthcare offensive waste from clinical and from mixed municipal wastes. You must segregate it from any mixed municipal waste if (either):

  • You have more than one bag in a collection period.
  • You produced more than 7kg of municipal offensive waste.

Note: Producing less means you can dispose of municipal offensive waste in your mixed municipal waste (black bag) and use classification code 20-03-01.


Plaster and Similar Waste Products

A medicine should be considered as cytotoxic or cytostatic for waste classification purposes if it is acutely toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic for reproduction.

TYPE OF WASTE STATUS HUMAN ANIMAL
Plaster and similar wastes (e.g. from dentistry and fracture clinics) Non-hazardous 18-01-04 18-02-03

Note: The majority of plaster waste is non-infectious. But, you should keep it separate to any 'infectious' plaster waste. Place this type of healthcare waste in the bagged infectious clinical waste stream.

Waste Medicines

TYPE OF WASTE STATUS HUMAN ANIMAL
Cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines Hazardous 18-01-08* 18-02-07*
Other types of medicines Non-hazardous 18-01-09 18-02-08

Note: Any household medicines returned to a community pharmacy should be coded as cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines as 20-01-31* and other medicines as 20-01-32.


Sharps and Related Waste

TYPE OF WASTE STATUS HUMAN ANIMAL
Cytotoxic and cytostatic contaminated Hazardous 18-01-08* and 18-01-03* 18-02-07* and 18-02-02*
Other medicinally contaminated Hazardous 18-01-03* and 18-01-09 18-02-02* and 18-02-08
Non-medicinally contaminated Hazardous 18-01-03* 18-02-02*


Anatomical Waste

TYPE OF WASTE STATUS HUMAN ANIMAL
Not chemically preserved (infectious) Hazardous 18-01-03* 18-02-02*
Not chemically preserved (non-infectious) Non-hazardous 18-01-02 18-02-03
Chemically preserved (infectious or non-infectious) Hazardous 18-01-06* and 18-01-02*/03 18-02-05* and 18-02-02*/03


Bagged Clinical Waste

TYPE OF WASTE STATUS HUMAN ANIMAL
Infectious clinical waste - orange bag (no chemicals or pharmaceuticals) Hazardous 18-01-03* 18-02-02*
Infectious clinical waste - yellow bag Hazardous 18-01-03* and 18-01-06* 18-02-02* and 18-02-05*

Note: Only put waste items that are infectious and chemically contaminated into the yellow bag waste stream (e.g. some diagnostic kits and samples).


Laboratory Chemicals and Photochemicals

TYPE OF WASTE STATUS HUMAN ANIMAL
Other chemicals (hazardous) Hazardous 18-01-06* 18-02-05*
Other chemicals (non-hazardous) Non-hazardous 18-01-07 18-02-06

Note: Classify photochemicals and film (including X-ray related products) using codes from chapter 9 of the waste code section in the technical guidance on waste.

Health Technical Memorandum

The Department of Health and Social Care produce Health Technical Memorandum (HTM 07-01). You should use it as an extra guide to the safe management practices while classifying clinical and healthcare waste.


List of Waste Codes for Healthcare and Related Wastes in United Kingdom

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