The 8 steps along the waste stream

Segregate waste correctlyThe management of waste must be consistent from the point of generation («cradle») to the point of final disposal («grave»).

The path between these two points can be segmented schematically into eight steps.

To get detailed information about each step, click on the points below.


This first step comes prior to the production of waste and aims at reducing as much as possible the amount of HCW that will be produced by setting up an efficient purchasing policy and having a good stock management, for example.

The point at which waste is produced.

The correct segregation of waste at the point of generation relies on a clear identification of the different categories of waste and the separate disposal of the waste in accordance with the categorization chosen.

Segregation must be done at the point of generation of the waste. To encourage segregation at source, (reusable) containers or baskets with liners of the correct size and thickness are placed as close to the point of generation as possible. They should be properly colour-coded (yellow or red for infectious waste) and have the international infectious waste symbol clearly marked.

When they are 3/4 full, the liners are closed with plastic cable ties or string and placed into larger containers or liners at the intermediate storage areas. Suitable latex gloves must always be used when handling infectious waste.

In order to avoid both the accumulation and decomposition of the waste, it must be collected on a regular daily basis.

This area, where the larger containers are kept before removal to the central storage area, should both be close to the wards and not accessible to unauthorized people such as patients and visitors.

Transport to the central storage area is usually performed using a wheelie bin or trolley. Wheelie bins or trolley should be easy to load and unload, have no sharp edges that could damage waste bags or containers and be easy to clean. Ideally, they should be marked with the corresponding coding color.

 

The transport of general waste must be carried out separately from the collection of healthcare risk waste (HCRW) to avoid potential cross contamination or mixing of these two main categories of waste. The collection should follow specific routes through the HCF to reduce the passage of loaded carts through wards and other clean areas.

The central storage area should be sized according to the volume of waste generated as well as the frequency of collection. The facility should not be situated near to food stores or food preparation areas and its access should always be limited to authorized personnel. It should also be easy to clean, have good lighting and ventilation, and be designed to prevent rodents, insects or birds from entering. It should also be clearly separated from the central storage area used for HCGW in order to avoid cross-contamination.

 

Storage time should not exceed 24-48 hours especially in countries that have a warm and humid climate.

External transport should be done using dedicated vehicles. They shall be free of sharp edges, easy to load and unload by hand, easy to clean / disinfect, and fully enclosed to prevent any spillage in the hospital premises or on the road during transportation.

 

The transportation should always be properly documented and all vehicles should carry a consignment note from the point of collection to the treatment facility.

There are a number of different treatment options to deal with infectious waste. These are detailed in the ressources section under the treatment options chapter.