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Follow the link to view the latest Government advice on healthcare waste management and download your copy of the Department of Health's Guidance HTM 07-01 The Safe Management of Healthcare Waste

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) offers detailed guidance to organisations looking to manage their waste, including those in the healthcare sector. Download your copy of 'An Introduction to Healthcare Waste in England and Wales (2014) free.

The Royal College of Nursing provide a wealth of support on both infection control and healthcare waste disposal. Their guidance document 'The Management of waste from health, social and personal care' builds upon their independent research to quantify the financial savings that can be made by implemeting better waste management practices.

Click here to download our latest brochure outlining the range of services we offer to help healthcare organisations better manage their waste

Providing tailored waste management advice for the dental sector, the British Dental Association offers guidance on managing common forms of dental waste including amalgam waste and  disposing of X-ray fixer and developer.

Click here to download our dedicated training brochure detailing the full matrix of classroom, E-learning and on-the-job training we offer

Healthcare waste colour-coding

As recommended by the Department of Health Techical Manual 07-01, most UK hospitals follow the colour-coding protocol laid out below. Whilst this is only a recommendation not a legal requirements, a strong and well-recognised colour coding system is essential to the success of your waste management programme. 

Yellow bags, containers and sharps bins to be used for infectious waste which is also contaminated with medicines e.g:


  • diagnostic specimins

  • chemically-contaminated protective clothing

  • syringes containing residual medicines (not cytotoxic or cytostatic)

Orange bags and orange lidded sharps bin to be used for potentially infectious 'clinical' waste e.g:


  • infectious swabs and dressings

  • infectious-contaminated protective clothing

  • blood/phlebotomy sharps

Purple bags and purple-lidded sharps containers used for cytotoxic and cytostatic contaminated waste  e.g:


  • Cytotoxic/cytostatic tablets, full or part full blister packs, creams and ointments 

  • Cytotoxic/cytostatic contaminated sharps, syringes, IV tubes and lines

  • Cytotoxic/cytostatic contaminated protective equipment and dressings

Yellow and black striped 'tiger' bag used for waste that has been contaminated by bodily fluids but is NOT infectious e.g:


  • non-infectious swabs and dressings

  • nappies and incontinence waste

  • gypsum plaster casts and dental casts

White sealable bags (often paper) used for confidential waste and office paper e.g:


  • patient records and notes

  • tablet packets with patient prescription details

  • Any notices, letters or communication on NHS header paper

White pots and sealable containers used for dental waste  e.g:


  • Mixed amalgam residue 

  • Extracted teeth which contain amalgam fillings

  • Amalgam sludge from amalgam waste traps

Red rigid container and red-lidded bins to be used for surgical, anatomical and theatre waste e.g:


  • full and part-full blood bags 

  • recognisable human tissue and bone

  • placentas, organs and limbs

Blue containers to be used for non-cytotixics/cytostatic pharmaceutical and medicinal waste  e.g:


  • Tablets, full or part full blister packs, creams and ointments 

  • Liquid dose bottles, containers and oral medicine syringes

Black bags used for non-recyclable general, also called 'household' waste e.g:


  • non-recyclable food and drink packaging and wrappers

  • paper towels, tissue and hand towels

  • couch roll which has not been contaminated by bodily fluids

Clear or see-through bags often used for mixed recyclable items e.g:


  • plastic and glass bottles, containers and metal cans

  • newspapers and non-confidential waste paper

  • cardboard and card packaging

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