Written by Laura Wakelam
07 Jul 2018

Clinical Waste Bin Cleanliness in a Pharmacy Clean Room

A recent failure in a pharmacy clean room resulted in 753 patients being infected with meningitis, causing 64 deaths in 20 states. This is one area of a hospital where contamination risk should not be taken lightly. (https://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html)


The Clinismart clinical waste system was recently spotlighted as a superior alternative to standard reusable biomedical waste bins within a pharmacy clean room environment. With 13 times less microbial contamination than its counterpart, and falling well beneath the acceptable level of surface-microbe count, the Clinismart with its advanced robotic washing processes, proved a superior level of cleanliness.


The Challenge

Through routine testing for microbes in a Pharmacy Clean Room, two tests exceeded the allowable level and required immediate action. Despite surfaces and ducts being cleaned, the tests failed a second time and prompted testing of the reusable biomedical waste bins; the findings revealed extremely high microbial counts on the surface of the containers. The bins underwent further ATP tests (a process of rapidly measuring actively growing microorganisms through detection of adenosine triphosphate or ATP) but failed, unable to reduce ATP count to a target-level of <250 relative light units; the average of the highest counts was 14,844--far exceeding safe levels.

The Solution

The Clinismart waste container was put forward as a viable solution for eliminating the contamination issues associated with clinical waste management within the Pharmacy Clean Room. The Clinismart was subjected to the same rigorous ATP testing and passed with an unprecedented microbial count (highest count was 103 relative light units) With the rollout of the Clinismart clinical waste system, no further work-surface tests failed and since August 2015, no failures in the Pharmacy Clean Room microbe tests have occurred.


How Clinismart is different

  • The Clinismart clinical waste container is supplied as a single sealed unit. Other clinical waste containers are supplied with multiple units “nested” within each other which entraps moisture in the bottom of the bin and enables microbial growth.
  • Sharpsmart's safety-engineered containers undergo a thorough washing and decontamination process after each use. This patented robotic system is fully automated to decant, wash, sanitise and dry the containers before redeployment; Sharpsmart's industry-leading Washsmart system has been extensively researched, tested and independently verified as achieving a level of sterilisation 4x higher than required by UK standards. 
  • The Clinismart system is designed to be hands-free, requiring no surface-touch.
  • Especially important for environments such as Pharmacy Clean Rooms which require scrupulous decontamination to an ISO standard, Clinismart stands alone in its benchmark of microbiological efficacy.


Authors Tyler Weaver, Josh Guinter (Childrens hospital of Philadelphia), and microbiologist Terry Grimmond presented their case study “Resolving microbial contamination of reusable waste bins in a pharmacy clean-room” at the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) conference in Pittsburg PA. A recap published by one of the authors can be found here


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Laura Wakelam

Laura Wakelam

Chief Marketing Officer

Brand and Communications Curator of Sharpsmart global group of companies, Laura is a strong believer in cause-driven brand identity and honest storytelling