Clinical waste

Residents (patients) and healthcare professionals must be clear on how to dispose of their clinical waste whether self-treating at home or by a healthcare professional.

'Clinical Waste’ includes any infectious items and sharps (such syringes, drugs, pharmaceuticals and surgical waste) must not be disposed of in your non-recycling.

Non-hazardous 'Offensive/hygiene wastes’ can be offensive in appearance and smell but which is not known to be infectious. Provided this waste is appropriately wrapped, properly handled and free from excess liquid, the risk of ill health is considered to be low and can be disposed of in the non-recycling bin.

Non-hazardous Offensive/hygiene waste includes:

  • Catheter and stoma bags;
  • Condoms;
  • Human waste (faeces);
  • Incontinence pads;
  • Medical/veterinary items of disposable equipment such as gowns etc;
  • Nappies;
  • Nasal secretions;
  • Plasters (minor first aid or self-care) generated by personal use;
  • Sanitary waste;
  • Sputum;
  • Urine;
  • Waste from non-healthcare activities, e.g. waste from body piercing or application of tattoos (excluding sharps)
  • Waste from domestic first aid and self-care that does not involve the need for a healthcare practitioner (excluding sharps) is assumed to be non-infectious, unless a healthcare practitioner indicates otherwise.

If you have sharps in an FP10 sharps box, issued by your doctor, for disposal please return them to your doctor’s surgery or as instructed by your healthcare professional.

If you are being treated by a private or NHS healthcare professional in your home, the healthcare provider will arrange disposal for any hazardous/infectious clinical waste including sharps. However provided a healthcare professional confirms in writing it is not hazardous or infectious and, provided the waste is appropriately wrapped, properly handled and free from excess liquid, the risk of ill health is considered to be low and can be disposed of in the non-recycling bin.

Nappies and Incontinence waste

Nappies and incontinence waste can be put into non-recycling containers (bins), but if you find this is not suitable, Harlow Council offers a separate nappy/incontinence waste collection. You can request an application form for this collection from Contact Harlow.