Classify different types of waste

6. Healthcare and related wastes

The tables below list waste codes for common healthcare and related wastes.

You can find additional codes for other waste and advice on how to apply these codes in the technical guidance on waste.

Additional guidance

Check the guide to the safe management of healthcare waste for additional information about classifying clinical and healthcare waste.

Offensive waste

‘Offensive waste’ is non-clinical waste that’s non-infectious and doesn’t contain pharmaceutical or chemical substances, but may be unpleasant to anyone who comes into contact with it.

Waste type Waste status Human healthcare Animal healthcare
Healthcare offensive waste, eg outer dressings and protective clothing like masks, gowns and gloves that aren’t contaminated with body fluids, and sterilised laboratory waste Non-hazardous 18-01-04 18-02-03
Municipal offensive waste, eg hygiene waste and sanitary protection like nappies and incontinence pads Non-hazardous 20-01-99 20-01-99

You must segregate healthcare offensive waste from both clinical and mixed municipal wastes.

If you’ve produced more than 7kg of municipal offensive waste, or have more than one bag in a collection period, you must segregate it from any mixed municipal waste.

If you’ve produced less, you can dispose of your municipal offensive waste in your mixed municipal waste (‘black bag’). Use classification code 20-03-01.

Plaster and similar wastes

Most plaster waste is non-infectious.

It should be kept separately from any plaster waste that’s infectious, which must be placed in the bagged infectious clinical waste stream.

Waste type Waste status Human healthcare Animal healthcare
Plaster and similar wastes, eg from dentistry and fracture clinics Non-hazardous 18-01-04 18-02-03

Waste medicines

A medicine is considered to be cytotoxic or cytostatic for waste classification purposes if it’s any of the following:

  • acutely toxic
  • carcinogenic
  • mutagenic
  • toxic for reproduction
Waste type Waste status Human healthcare Animal healthcare
Cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines Hazardous 18-01-08* 18-02-07*
Other medicines Non-hazardous 18-01-09 18-02-08

(*) An asterisk at the end of a code means the waste is hazardous.

Household medicines returned to a community pharmacy should be coded as follows:

  • cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines: 20-01-31*
  • other medicines: 20-01-32
Waste type Waste status Human healthcare Animal healthcare
Cytotoxic and cytostatic contaminated Hazardous 18-01-08* and 18-01-03* 18-02-07* and 18-02-02*
Other medicinally contaminated Hazardous 18-01-03* and 18-01-09 18-02-02* and 18-02-08
Non-medicinally contaminated Hazardous 18-01-03* 18-02-02*

(*) An asterisk at the end of a code means the waste is hazardous.

Anatomical waste

Waste type Waste status Human healthcare Animal healthcare
Not chemically preserved - infectious Hazardous 18-01-03* 18-02-02*
Not chemically preserved - non-infectious Non-hazardous 18-01-02 18-02-03
Chemically preserved - infectious or non-infectious Hazardous 18-01-06* and 18-01-02*/03 18-02-05* and 18-02-02*/03

(*) An asterisk at the end of a code means the waste is hazardous.

Bagged clinical waste

You must only put waste items that are both infectious and chemically contaminated (eg some samples and diagnostic kits) in the yellow bag waste stream.

Waste type Waste status Human healthcare Animal healthcare
Infectious clinical waste (no chemicals or pharmaceuticals) - orange bag Hazardous 18-01-03* 18-02-02*
Infectious clinical waste - yellow bag Hazardous 18-01-03* and 18-01-06* 18-02-02* and 18-02-05*

(*) An asterisk at the end of a code means the waste is hazardous.

Laboratory chemicals and photochemicals

You must classify photochemicals and film, including X-ray related products, with codes from chapter 9 of the waste code section in the technical guidance on waste.

Waste type Waste status Human healthcare Animal healthcare
Other chemicals - hazardous Hazardous 18-01-06* 18-02-05*
Other chemicals - non-hazardous Non-hazardous 18-01-07 18-02-06

(*) An asterisk at the end of a code means the waste is hazardous.