The non-clinical setting - eg the domestic care setting

In the non-clinical setting and where, following a risk assessment, it is determined that the waste is not derived from an infected individual, then the material would be defined as offensive/hygiene waste. This is waste that is healthcare related waste, or similar waste from municipal sources, which meets the following criteria:

  • It is not clinical waste.
  • It is not dangerous for carriage.
  • The producer has identified, after segregation at source, that it is suitable for disposal at a non-hazardous landfill site without further treatment; and,
  • It may cause offence to those coming into contact with it.
  • Offensive/Hygiene waste should not contain human/animal body parts, organs or blood products.

Smaller volumes of such waste, such as those which may be used by householders; ie plasters, pads, small dressings, stoma bags etc may go into a black or grey (opaque) bag and be discarded as household waste if the householder agrees.

However, where a number of small dressings are produced regularly over a period of time, HTM 07-01 states that 'it may be appropriate to dispose of these as offensive/ hygiene waste', ie in yellow bags with a black stripe (also known as 'Tiger bags'). All offensive/hygiene waste of this kind must be postcode labelled and kept in a designated, secure area until collected.

Legal requirements relating to disposal of known infected material in the domestic setting are covered by the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, which applies to England and Wales only. In addition to other specific conditions, section 26 of the Act states:

'(1) A person who places, or causes or permits to be placed, in a dustbin or ash pit any matter which he knows to have been exposed to infection from a notifiable disease, and which has not been disinfected, shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale'.

This section applies to 'viral hepatitis' by virtue of Regulation 3 of the Public Health (Infectious Disease) Regulations 1988.

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Updated 2022-05-13