Written by Megan Chamberlain
16 Mar 2021

Healthcare Waste Management Guidelines for Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, is home to a number of hospitals, including the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital and the thousand-plus bed University Hospital of Wales. Located in Glamorgan County, Cardiff is one of the United Kingdom’s largest cities and commercial centers. Knowing healthcare waste management guidelines for Cardiff is essential, not only for the safety of the populace and the environment, but for healthcare workers and patients taking advantage of quality healthcare in the region.



1 / Healthcare waste management in Cardiff

2 / Waste Segregation is key to Compliance

3 / Healthcare Waste Categories and Treatment Methods 

4 / Putting Safety First 


Healthcare waste management in Cardiff

In early 2020, the Cardiff and Vail University Health Board produced a management waste policy (UHB 038) that defines specific instructions for classification, management, training, and audit processes in regard to waste management. The document is designed to minimize risks to not only locals in regard to human health, but damage to the environment. In brief, the policy statement designs to: 

 “enable the Organisation and its individuals to ensure all wastes are disposed of correctly, without endangering human health and using processes or methods which could harm the environment.” And to “ensure persons producing, handling, packaging, storing, transporting and/or disposing of the Organisation’s waste, exercise care to avoid injury or risk of harm to themselves or others, including the general public.”

Throughout the UK, the goal of healthcare waste management is to ensure that all waste streams are handled, treated, and safely disposed of, and in a manner that has no negative impact on the environment. However, it is important for healthcare providers and medical waste generators to note the variations not only across the UK, but in regard to Wales when it comes to legislation and policies. Management of healthcare waste is regulated through UK legislation covering safety, packaging, transport, and enforcement. A vast volume of healthcare waste is produced by English and Welsh healthcare providers – services that range from beauty salons and tattooists to private clinics, care homes, alternative medical practitioners, private clinics, and so forth. Each of these types of facilities must follow guidelines for proper segregation of medical waste streams as well as storage and disposal.

Utilising governmental resources when it comes to classifying different types of waste and their associated guidelines is highly recommended to maintain compliance and reduce risk of exposure or injury.


Waste segregation is key to compliance

The primary resource when it comes to healthcare waste management in Cardiff is the publication of the Department of Health’s Environment and Sustainability Health Technical Memorandum 07-01: Safe Management of Healthcare Waste. Every medical waste generator should take the time to download and read through this document. Become familiar with waste codes and how to apply such codes to safe healthcare waste management practices. Another valuable document (Waste Classification – Guidance on the Classification and Assessment of Waste) is another excellent resource.


Know your waste classifications

Knowing how waste is classified is also important. For example, when it comes to waste medicines, they can be cytotoxic or cytostatic. Do you know if the medicine you’re disposing into that waste bin has toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic for reproduction characteristics? Do you know how to properly identify and dispose of such waste inside the four walls of your facility?

Cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines are deemed hazardous in both animal and human health care and are classified with waste codes 18-01-08 (human healthcare) or 18-02-07 (animal health care). Any community pharmacy receiving household medicines should code such medicines as cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines with the code 20-01-31. The same process also applies to bag clinical waste, anatomical waste, and laboratory chemicals.


About sharps waste

Safe management of healthcare waste is not limited to segregation, but colour coding, storage, and minimising waste. It’s applicable to sharps waste too - refer to the Health and Safety Executive Document - Sharps Instruments and Healthcare Regulations 2013). For example, sharps disposal processes follow the rules of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). These procedures provide not only information for safe management of risks when using sharps. They also define container requirements, training for employees, and cover scenarios that include clinical trials, pharmacies, residential care homes and healthcare workers who provide care to people in home environments. Additional guidance can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website.


Duty of care with hazardous waste

Every medical waste generator has a duty of care to ensure that any hazardous waste generated or handled by your facility causes no damage or harm to patients, healthcare providers, the general public, or the environment. To determine whether medical waste is hazardous, check the waste codes associated with the waste. Because some waste has more than one classification, it’s important to know exactly what is contained in the waste. It is illegal to mix hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste or other types of hazardous waste.

Based on the waste classification guide, the first step is to classify the waste. That means checking to see if the waste needs to be classified. Then identify codes that are applicable to the waste. Next, be aware of the assessments required to choose the correct code.


Healthcare waste categories and treatment methods in Cardiff

Healthcare waste producers should not only be able to identify the category of healthcare waste, but treatment method as well as disposal options. For example, infectious waste is banned from landfills per authorisation of Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency. Non-infectious offense of waste can be disposed of directly to landfills.

Medicinal waste is treated through incineration, as is medicine contaminated with infectious clinical waste. Non-medicinal contaminated sharps can be treated with incineration or other approved alternative treatments and disposed of in a landfill or through residual ash recovery.


Documentation for compliance

In Cardiff, requirements for healthcare waste documentation will depend on the composition of waste and its collection point. Documentation is necessary for all collections other than that from private households. So too is movement of waste. Hazardous waste must be listed on a hazardous waste consignment note, while non-hazardous waste, while not requiring completion of the hazardous waste consignment note, does require a waste transfer note.


A brief word about handling and storage

Regardless of type of waste, mark or tag all bags or containers that contain healthcare waste as part of a best practices policy. This ensures that waste can be traced to its source. Follow regulations regarding infectious waste or other dangerous healthcare waste regarding transport, containers, labelling, packaging, and storage. Ensure on-site storage as well as volume and length of storage guidelines. Ensure that any external storage meets requirements for safety and protects against unauthorised access.


Sharpsmart puts safety first

Sharpsmart provides solutions and resources for all healthcare waste producers in Cardiff and throughout Wales and the UK. Our goal is to ensure reduction of volume of healthcare waste through proper treatment and disposal methods. For more information on how Sharpsmart can help your facility stay on top of ever-changing guidelines and regulations, contact us today.  Alternatively find out more about our Cardiff operations and service capabilities on our Cardiff service page here.




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Megan Chamberlain

Megan Chamberlain

Compliance and Digital Solutions Specialist

With a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things and a quick wit, Megan was the recipient of the Sharpsmart Pun-Master Award 2017 and is the go-to girl for all things compliance.