Healthcare waste and sharps

Information about the safe disposal of healthcare waste and sharps.

Types of healthcare waste

Healthcare waste includes:

Healthcare waste to put in normal rubbish bin

Healthcare waste that is not hazardous or infectious can be put in your normal rubbish bin. This includes:

  • dressings and bandages;
  • incontinence pads;
  • sanitary products;
  • stoma bags;
  • catheter waste (after contents has been disposed of in a toilet);
  • ‘peg’ or stomach feeding equipment; and
  • home dialysis waste (empty saline or glucose IV bags and tubing).

You may wish to double bag the waste before disposal. If you require an additional rubbish bin to dispose of healthcare waste please complete the additional temporary rubbish bin request form.

If you have an infectious illness or are undergoing treatment with cytotoxic or cytostatic drugs, such as chemotherapy, then the items listed above may be hazardous and need to be collected separately as clinical waste instead.

Hazardous clinical waste to be collected separately

Healthcare waste which is infectious or hazardous is classed as ‘clinical waste’ and must be collected separately for safe disposal. Your doctor or nurse will advise if your waste should be collected separately and provide you with a coloured sack to put it in, this will usually be an orange sack.

Clinical waste includes:

  • swabs and wound dressings/bandages that are contaminated with infectious or hazardous substances;
  • wound vacuum drains or pumps.

To request a separate weekly collection for the safe disposal of your clinical waste please complete the clinical waste collection form.


Sharps including needles and syringes should never be put in your normal rubbish bin, even if they haven’t been used. They should always be placed in a sharps box, which we will collect and dispose of safely.

To arrange a collection of your sharps box please complete the sharps collection form.


Unwanted and out of date medicines should be taken to your local pharmacy. Do not put them in your normal rubbish bin.

Empty non-contaminated packaging and containers for medicines can be put in your recycling bin. This could include clean plastic or glass bottles, cardboard boxes and paper instructions. Blister packets should be put in your rubbish bin.