Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
A sharp is an item that could cause cuts or punctures. Sharps include:
A syringe body is not considered to be a sharp. If a syringe body is contaminated with medicine it is classed as pharmaceutical waste.
There are three types of sharps. They are sharps:
Infected sharps are classified as hazardous/special waste. You must store, transport and dispose of this waste as hazardous/special waste to make sure you do not cause a risk to human health or the environment. You are committing an offence if you do not follow the regulations for dealing with hazardous/special waste.
You must not mix hazardous/special waste with your other waste or with other types of hazardous/special waste. Segregate your waste so that different wastes types do not get contaminated.
You must complete consignment notes for any hazardous/special waste that leaves your site. You must keep a register containing all of the consignment notes and the consignee returns. You must keep these records for three years.
You must ensure that your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally. You must comply with your waste responsibilities, known as your duty of care.
You must make sure that sharps are disposed of in a way that ensures they are made safe.
In Northern Ireland:
You must contain and dispose of sharps in a sharps box. You should never dispose of sharps in a bag, as this could injure staff.
Your containers should be clearly labelled by the manufacturer to show that they are suitable for and contain sharps waste.
Use containers of the appropriate colours to dispose of sharps:
You can also use the containers with yellow and purple lids for used glass bottles, vials and syringe bodies contaminated with medicines, as well as for sharps.
Always check the labels as well as the colour coding.
Classifying and describing sharps waste
If you have segregated your waste according to this guidance, you will need to classify the waste in the consignment note as follows:
Use the European waste catalogue codes:
Example description: Clinical waste - mixed infectious sharps and pharmaceutical waste, for incineration only.
Syringes are still considered to be medicinally contaminated even if they are fully discharged.
If you segregate sharps not contaminated with medicines into yellow boxes with an orange lid you will need to classify the waste in the consignment note as follows:
Use the European waste catalogue code 18 01 03*
Example description: Clinical waste - sharps non-medicinally contaminated, suitable for alternative treatment.
You should not enter non-hazardous waste codes on consignment notes. You should describe and code each hazardous waste present on the consignment note.
SEPA Special Waste Consignment Notes – updated position, The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is now accepting special waste consignment notes (SWCNs) by email only.
DAERA Waste Policy Tracker, The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has published a Waste policy tracker to stay informed of waste policy developments.
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