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A QUICK GUIDE TO WASTE MANAGEMENT IN HEALTHCARE
CLINICAL AND RELATED WASTES Waste Category Container Symbol A QUICK GUIDE Clinical Waste Sharps TO WASTE Yellow sharps containers: Must be disposed of by Impact and puncture-resistant, spill contractors by means of proof, tamper proof when locked MANAGEMENT high-temperature incineration, or maceration Preferably mounted on stable, Black Biohazard Symbol then disinfection elevated surface on Yellow Container Closed off when filled to marker line —do not overfill IN HEALTHCARE Sharps containers specified in: AS 4031 (disposable) AS/NZS 24261 (reusable) Non-Sharps Thick-walled yellow plastic bag labelled Infectious/Contaminated Waste Cytotoxic Waste Sharps Purple container meeting all above specifications, eg: Impact and Must be disposed of by puncture-resistance contractors using incineration at 1100 0C This is pamphlet No. 4 in the Bug Byte Series Non-Sharps Purple multi-layer walled plastic or for Staff Education produced by the wet/dry bag labelled Cytotoxic White Telophase Symbol on Grampians Region Infection Control Group Waste Purple Container See http://infectioncontrol.health.vic.gov.au/gramps. htm for other pamphlets in the Bug Byte Series Compiled 09/03 Grampians Region This pamphlet is based on the latest information available as Infection Control Group of September 2003 2. Rationalization of Waste Generated What Comprises Clinical and Related Wastes? Many avenues can assist in decreasing the amount Clinical Waste is industrial waste generated in a of resources used, and thus rhe amount of waste clinical or similar setting that has the potential to produced, for example: double sided photocopying, cause disease, injury, or public offence, and includes: refilling of printer cartridges, choosing products • A sharp discarded object or device capable of with less packaging cutting or penetrating the skin—a “sharp” 3. Product Substitution • A clinical specimen other than urine or faeces • A specimen of urine or faeces taken for Substitution of reusable items in place of laboratory testing disposables: Our society is drowning in a sea of waste caused by • A laboratory culture • Use of re-sterilisable dressing trays in place of • Human tissue our throw away lifestyle disposables (only if it does not create other • Tissue, carcasses or other waste arising from Think about the packaging you throw away every problems) animals used for laboratory investigation or for day—paper, cardboard, plastics, polystyrene • Replacing disposable batteries with rechargables medical or veterinary research, other than Hospitals and healthcare agencies produce large psychology testing Our agency as a “Good Citizen” in Managing Waste amount of general waste every day—perhaps as much • Human blood or fluids other than urine or faeces Our agency has a community responsibility to generate • Materials or equipment containing human blood or as a small town. Items such as: as little waste as possible, and to manage the waste it body fluids other than urine or faeces • Used paper towel generates well • Waste from patients known to have, or • Packaging from medical and surgical supplies suspected of having a communicable disease Apart from the colossal waste of scarce resources • Single use medical items involved in making new items all the time, the cost of Related Waste is industrial waste generated in a • Kitchen waste—tins, plastic containers, milk disposal by land fill is increasing rapidly as we run out clinical or similar setting that constitutes, or is cartons of land fill sites contaminated with chemicals, cytotoxic drugs, or • Newspapers, facial tissues • Incontinence pads pharmaceutical products Clinical Wastes • Office paper waste Regulations covering Clinical and Related Wastes are • Etc, etc, etc ……………………………………. In addition to household and office wastes generated summarised as follows: in caring for clients, some wastes produced have the • Collected into containers of proper colours How can this huge amount of waste be decreased? potential to cause infection/problems if marked with the proper symbols inappropriately managed. • Stored after collection from clinical areas in a 1. Recycling These are called Clinical and Related Wastes, and central area which is signposted with appropriate • Recycling of usable waste, eg: cans, bottles, these make up about 12% of health agency wastes. biohazard symbol, is vermin-proof, is adequately plastics, waste paper from Admin. areas and Because they must be managed carefully for public cleaned, is kept locked, has an adequate spill kit, newspapers safety they are subject to Government Regulation, and a non-absorbent floor, and is refrigerated for • Purchasing supplies which have a recycled are expensive to containerise, store and transport Clinical Waste content • Clinical and Related Waste is collected by EPA— accredited contractors in trucks which have appropriate transport Permits and biohazard signage.
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