Inspire DEC Blog

What sort of organisations need to use clinical waste incinerators?

There are several kinds of businesses and organisations which need to use clinical waste incinerators.

Any waste which consists of wholly or partly human or animal tissue, blood, or other bodily fluids, drugs, pharmaceutical products, dressings, swabs, needles, syringes, or sharp instruments which may prove hazardous to someone coming into contact with them, is considered hazardous clinical waste.

This is the waste that needs to be sent to clinical waste incinerators and destroyed carefully.


Where does clinical waste come from?

  • Hospitals – They produce a whole range of clinical waste from swabs and dressings to sharps, drugs, and human tissue.
  • GP practices – Produce waste dressings, needles, syringes, drugs, and bodily fluids.
  • Pharmacies – Produce waste drugs, pharmaceutical products, and needles.
  • Dentists – Produce waste bodily fluids, needles, drugs, and swabs.
  • Aestheticians and beauty therapists – Produce waste needles, syringes, and swabs from anti-wrinkle injections and fillers.
  • Vets – Produce waste animal tissue, dressings, drugs, swabs, syringes, and needles.
  • Care homes and care providers – Produce waste dressings, drugs, needles, and pharmaceutical products.
  • Research laboratories – Produce waste human and animal tissue, bodily fluids, needles, syringes, and drugs.
  • Transfusion services – Produce waste bodily fluids such as blood, swabs, and needles.


Is all clinical waste hazardous waste?

No, only special waste comes under the Hazardous Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2005 and the Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

For example, gowns, gloves, and masks, and outer dressings which aren’t contaminated with body fluids are non-hazardous, and so is sterilised laboratory waste.

You can find out more here.

What happens when waste gets to clinical waste incinerators?

At a temperature of 1,100C, the clinical waste is completely destroyed and the inert residue is left.

Only 20% of the volume of the waste is left to go to landfill.

If the incineration had not taken place, some scientific studies claim that greater amounts of greenhouse gases, hydrocarbons, hazardous air pollutants, nitrogen oxides, and dioxin would be produced.

If left in landfill without incineration, this waste could also leach into local watercourses and pollute the environment. It could spread disease and infection.

There is also an energy capture system in place when waste is burned at some plants, generating more energy.


How do you choose the right company to transport your waste?

Your waste must be transferred by a company with the correct waste transfer licence.

Ensure they are registered and have the correct accreditations, understand the complex waste transfer note process and how important it is to keep you on the right side of the law, avoiding the substantial fines which can be imposed for breaching hazardous waste regulations.

You should also look for decades of experience in dealing with clinical waste and clinical waste incinerators.

Look for a business like Inspire Waste Management which can advise you on all of these issues and ensure your waste is taken to the appropriate facility for its disposal and destruction.

Ensure your company gives you a certificate of destruction so that you can prove you dealt with your hazardous clinical waste responsibly.


Do you need advice on clinical waste incinerators from our Inspire Waste Management team? Contact us on 0800 002 9282.

clinical waste incinerators

In the health sector? Read our comprehensive guide to clinical waste incinerators

clinical waste incineratorsDoes your organisation or business produce items which need to be dealt with by clinical waste incinerators?

The UK regulations for dealing with this waste are stringent and complex. The aim is to prevent contamination of people and the environment, and the spread of infections and diseases.

So, here’s our useful guide to the process – from identifying and storing the waste to taking it to clinical waste incinerators.

What is clinical waste?

It is defined as any waste which is wholly or partly human or animal tissue, blood, or other bodily fluids, pharmaceutical products or drugs, dressings and swabs, needles, syringes, or sharp instruments which may prove hazardous to people coming into contact with it.

Waste from dental, veterinary, and medical practices, pharmacies, nursing practices, from scientific investigations using tissue or blood, from treatment centres, care practices, teaching or research facilities using such matter, or waste blood from transfusion services can be included in this definition.

Some clinical waste is classified as special waste and comes under the Hazardous Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2005 and the Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

Find out more here.

The UK government says that healthcare offensive waste such as protective clothing like gowns, masks, and gloves, and outer dressings, all of which aren’t contaminated with body fluids, is non-hazardous, as is sterilised laboratory waste. What it calls municipal offensive waste, such as nappies, sanitary protection, and incontinence pads, are also non-hazardous. They are not classed as clinical waste and must be stored separately from it.

How should it be stored and dealt with?

There are clear regulations for storing clinical waste. Sharps such as needles must be held in rigid containers, and other clinical waste should be in yellow or orange plastic bags marked for clinical waste. It should all be secured in a locked container. Items which are infectious and contaminated chemically must go in the yellow bags, while the orange bags are for infectious, uncontaminated waste.

Any hazardous waste has to have the correct waste transfer note, be categorised and described correctly, and it must be disposed of at a licensed facility.

The majority of the facilities where waste is processed are clinical waste incinerators.

How do clinical waste incinerators work?

Waste must be held at a properly licensed waste transfer station then send on to the incinerators. They use high temperature incineration at a temperature of 1,100C to completely destroy items and leave inert residues. Generally, this reduces the volume of the incinerated items by 80% and reduces the amount of waste going to landfill where greater amounts of greenhouse gases, hazardous air pollutants, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and dioxin would be produced compared to an incinerator, some scientific studies claim. Clinical waste in landfill could also leach into local watercourses, polluting the environment and spreading disease and infection.

Some of the incinerators also generate energy when waste is burned. In Sweden, 8% of the country’s heating is generated from 50% of the waste it burns.

In England alone, 263,000 tonnes of clinical waste can be destroyed every year. One incinerator in the Wirral can handle 100,000 tonnes in a year.

How do you choose the right waste management company?

Choose a licensed company with a track record in successful clinical waste removal, such as Inspire Waste Management. They will understand the regulations and the different categories within clinical waste and will carry out the transfer to the right disposal facility, ensuring your paperwork is correct.


Do you need advice on clinical waste from our Inspire Waste Management team? Contact us on 0800 002 9282.