A lot of nurses, healthcare cleaning and infection control professionals are still not clear about when to use the ‘Offensive Waste’ channel. Here are answers to the three most frequently asked questions:
Q1. WHAT CAN I PUT INTO OFFENSIVE WASTE?
You should put ANY blood or bodily fluid stained waste in Offensive Waste that is:
a) NON-INFECTIOUS and
b) DOES NOT CONTAIN pharmaceutical or chemical substances
Offensive Waste was previously known as ‘human hygiene’ and ‘sanpro’ waste, which may have lead you to assume it was only for sanitary waste. But Offensive Waste, as it is now known, is for ANY bodily fluid stained item that has been classified as non-infectious, and not contaminated with any pharmaceutical or chemical substances.
Items such as disposable aprons and gloves/ overshoes, saline bags and lines, swabs, and absorbent pads can all be put into the Offensive Waste stream.
Q2. OFFENSIVE WASTE IS CLINICAL WASTE, ISN’T IT?
Offensive Waste is NON-CLINICAL WASTE
Offensive Waste contains non-infectious, and non-pharmaceutically or chemically contaminated products, so it is not classed as clinical waste, and does not need to be transported as dangerous goods. This means collection and disposal of the waste is significantly cheaper than that of clinical waste.
Q3. HOW MUCH WILL I ACTUALLY SAVE BY USING OFFENSIVE WASTE?
Offensive Waste is 62% cheaper to dispose of than Yellow Clinical Waste, and 40% cheaper than Orange Clinical Waste
It is estimated that 40% of hospital clinical waste could be disposed of in other waste streams*. You could save £360 per tonne on yellow clinical waste, and £230 per tonne on orange clinical waste, so by segregating 40% of your clinical waste into Offensive Waste, the saving for 500 tonnes per year for hospitals could be as much as £72,000. It could be even more if some of this could be disposed of as municipal waste!
GV Health has over 15 years of experience in healthcare waste. We offer advice and training on best practice for waste bag purchasers and handlers, and can provide you with a waste audit and report on where cost savings can be made.
* Waste Management World — Weighing Up the Cost of Medical Waste Disposal