Current legislation governing clinical waste disposal

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      Abstract

      The paper considers UK and EC Legislation regulating clinical waste disposal. The legal definition of clinical waste is distinguished from both ‘health care waste’ and ‘infectious waste’. Waste can be pre-treated so as to enable it to be disposed of through the normal waste stream. The legislation is looked at by reference to (i) production and storage; (ii) handling and transportation; and (iii) disposal. It is vitally important to draw up a waste management strategy. Effective segregation at source is a key factor in the waste management strategy and it will enable hospital authorities to make economic savings in waste disposal costs. The Paper considers the Duty of Care under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and stresses the obligation on each person in the waste disposal chain to discharge the Duty. Landfilling as a method of disposal is discouraged except for waste where no possibility of infection arises. There are problems with hospital incinerators meeting modern emission standards. Requirements for licensing new incinerators are examined. The new Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 require applications for Waste Management Licenses to demonstrate technical and financial competence as ‘fit and proper persons’. The Paper concludes by examining penalties for breach of regulatory provisions.

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