Written by Megan Chamberlain
26 Apr 2021

Which Waste goes into Which Bin?

One of the most "googled" questions around hospital waste management (or any healthcare waste for that matter), is - how do I segregate my waste correctly. Why? Because poor waste segregation has a four-fold impact - increased costs, compliance breaches, sustainability impact of pollution in air and landfill, and the risks posed to clinical and EVS staff through improper containment of high risk waste. While there are many methods of optimizing a facility's waste management processes, from vacuum sealing to waste audits and container mapping - let's start with the "easiest to adopt" methods - understanding what waste types goes into the relevant coloured container.  

Clinical Infectious Waste For Incineration (Yellow Bag/Container)

The yellow clinical infectious waste,  requires incineration due to a secondary contamination, be that pharmaceutical or chemical. We recommend disposing of yellow clinical infectious waste in our IN64 Clinismart Container, and sharps into our ISO23907 approved reusable sharps containers.

Examples of Yellow clinical waste are:

  • Contaminated tubing, IV bags, syringes and needles
  • Other chemical (iodine) contaminated swabs and dressings
  • Diagnostics tests kits, vials
  • Chemical Pathology sample reagent vials


Clinical Infectious Waste Suitable for Alternative Treatment (Orange Bag)

Clinical infectious waste, sometimes referred to as "orange bag waste or AT waste," comes from patients with known or suspected infectious diseases. It's important to note that neither anatomical or pharmaceutically contaminated waste can be disposed of in this waste stream. We recommend disposing of clinical infectious waste in our AT64 Clinismart Container.

Examples of infectious clinical wastes are:

  • Disposable PPE Swabs and dressings from infectious patients
  • Wastes from Barrier nursing infectious patients


Offensive HealthcareWaste (Tiger Stripe Bag)

Often referred to as tiger stripe waste due to the colour of the bags used, offensive healthcare waste is for non-hazardous and non-infectious recognisable healthcare waste. As the most common waste stream for  hospitals, GP’scare homes and private healthcare, offensive waste has historically been ignored by traditional waste companies because ultimately 'diversion from infectious waste impacts the bottom line'. At Sharpsmart, our passion is restoring the balance of safe and sustainable healthcare waste management. To explore our educational resources on Offensive waste, click here.

Common examples of offensive waste are as follows (note that the below cannot be suspected or deemed to be infectious and must not contain any pharmaceutical contamination):

  • Disposable PPE
  • Incontinence pads and nappies
  • Colostomy bags
  • Empty fluid (saline) bags
  • Treatment waste from non-infectious patinets



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Pharmaceutical Waste

Non-hazardous medicines that do not have cytostatic/cytotoxic properties are disposed of in blue containers. We recommend any size of our S-Series pharmaceutical waste containers. You can explore our variety of sizes here.

Mismanagement of pharmaceutical waste has severe repercussions to the general public and the environment. If not handled properly, Pharmaceutical waste can enter our environment, causing water pollution and food contamination. We provide tamper-proof and secure reusable non-hazardous pharmaceutical containers for medications that increase your sustainability by reducing single-use plastics.

Types of pharmaceutical waste Sharpsmart can manage:

  • Out of date or partially used pharmaceuticals in primary packaging.
  • Controlled drugs destruction kits
  • Recalled pharmaceutical stock

Cytotoxic and Cytostatic Waste (Purple Bag/Container)

The Cytotoxic and Cytostatic Waste stream is the disposal by high temperature incineration of hazardous medicines and waste contaminated hazardous medicines (cytotoxic or cytostatic properties), and this waste is placed in purple-labelled and lidded containers. Explore how we approach Cytotoxic and Cytostatic Waste Disposal here. 

Falling under EWC code 18 01 08, cytotoxic medicines must be segregated from other pharmaceuticals and be securely disposed of. The types of medicines in this classification can include cancer chemotherapeutics, antiviral medicines, ciclosporin medicines and certain hormonal preparations including prostaglandins and androgens. You can explore our Cytotoxic sharps and bulk waste containers here.

Anatomical Waste

This waste stream mostly impacts operating rooms, birthing suites, research facilities and teaching facilities as it is for all body parts and recognisable human or animal tissue waste that require disposal. Anatomical waste can contain both hazardous and non­ hazardous wastes - it must be incinerated. Given the potential infectious nature of anatomical waste, stringent regulations govern its collection, transport and disposal. As experts in all healthcare waste management, our team works with you to determine the correct containment, labelling and segregation instructions required for the type of anatomical waste generated from your facility - we're here to make it simple

Sharpsmart act in accordance with the Human Tissue Act 2004 which regulates the removal, storage and use of human tissue. All of our clean processing facilities are secure sites monitored by CCTV and fitted with refrigeration to appropriately store anatomical and infectious wastes. Our range of containment options for the disposal of  body parts, organs, and blood bags are rigid and leakproof

Examples of anatomical waste:

  • Body parts
  • Full Blood bags
  • Placentas

Dental Waste

Dental waste is hazardous and must be carefully disposed of. Sharpsmart  is equipped with the solutions to compliantly handle and dispose of any dental waste including clinicalsharps, amalgam and chemical wastes. Our management solutions are designed to optimally handle all dental waste streams in the most efficient and cost­ effective manner, providing the safest sharps containment systems for the reduction of sharps injuries, spill kits, amalgam separators, waste containment for clinical, mercury and other hazardous wastes,

Specialist Dental Wastes we manage:

  • Mercury Containing Wastes /Dental Amalgam
  • Silver Containing Wastes/X-Ray fixer and developer and unused Films
  • Lead Containing Wastes/X-Ray lead foil
  • Chemicals, Disinfectants and Sterilising Agents
  • Sharps, Offensive and Infectious wastes

Waste Optimization Made Easy 

From NHS Hospitals and Trusts to independent patient-care facilities, the above guidance on correct waste disposal follows the Department of Health's HTM 07-01 Safe Management of Healthcare Memorandum. At Sharpsmart, we partner with our customers to ensure that through education, clear colour-coded containers and labelling, and correctly mapped bin placement - we can drive the highest conformance to correct waste segregation. Incorrectly segregated waste has an immediate impact not only on a healthcare's costs, but also its adverse environmental impact when treated and disposed of in an incorrect manner. To learn how our team delivers waste optimising results - explore our waste reduction. Or, to talk to one of our team about the challenges you're facing with your waste stream management, fill out the form below and we will get one of our experts to help you navigate cost reduction and compliance at your healthcare. 



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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.