Clinical Waste Law Briefing Document


These are the Clinical Waste Laws applicable in the UK.  The Code numbers are from European Waste Catalogue List of Waste (EWC 2002)


18 01 01 Sharps Orange Top | Non-infectious

These are sharps that are non infectious, that are fully discharged of medicinal products. The minimal disposal is by alternative technology treatment.


18 01 03 Sharps Yellow Top | Contaminated with medicines / infectious

Used syringes with needles attached, broken glass ampoules, needles, scalpels and other blades, if contaminated with medicines should be placed in a yellow lidded sharps container.


18 01 08 Sharps Purple Top | Cytotoxic or cytostatic products

Sharps contaminated with cytotoxic or cytostatic products must be placed into purple lidded sharps container and disposed of as Hazardous waste.


18 01 03* Orange Bags | Infectious Waste

Under Clinical Waste Law, Infectious Waste whose collection and disposal is subject to special requirements in order to prevent infection. This is divided into two sub-categories A and B.

Category A: An infectious substance which is transported in a form that, when exposure to it occurs, is capable of causing permanent disability, life threatening or fatal disease to humans or animals, e.g. waste contaminated with pathogens presenting the most severe risk of infection.

Category A. type wastes include but are not limited to: Ebola virus, Hepatitis B virus, Herpes B virus MRSA and other cultures.

Category B: An infectious substance which does not meet the criteria for inclusion in category A.

Minimum treatment/disposal required is incineration.
This type of waste is collected and disposed of in Orange bags.

18 01 04 Yellow with Black Stripes Bags | Offensive Waste

Under Clinical Waste Law, Offensive Waste collection and disposal are not subject to special requirements in order to prevent infection.

Offensive waste include, incontinence pads, nappies, paper couch roll, sanitary waste, empty catheter bags, plasters, protective clothing (aprons & gloves).

Minimum treatment/disposal required is deep landfill
This type of waste is disposed of into Yellow with Black Stripes bag


18.01.09 Pharmaceutical Blue Top - Medicine Waste in Original Packaging

Must be disposed of into separate pharmaceutical containers for solid and liquid medications-they should not be mixed.


18.01.09 Pharmaceutical Blue Top - Medicine Waste Not in Original Packaging

Medicines not in original packaging should be segregated to minimise the risks of combustion, explosion, or noxious fumes that may occur if allowed to intermix.


18 01 10* Amalgam waste from dental care

Under Clinical Waste Law, Amalgam Waste must not be released into drains; separators must be fitted to all dental facilities to prevent this occurring. These units collect the amalgam and are removed as a sealed unit for recycling.


Read about our clinical waste services for Healthcare

Get a Quick Quote for clinical waste bins.

looking for a fresh approach to your hygiene matters?get in touch