Clinical waste sacks vs normal waste sacks – What’s the difference?

Clinical Waste

There are many different types of waste disposal containers and sacks, the two prominent ones being standard plastic Waste Sacks, and specialised Clinical Waste sacks. What are they both used for and what are their differences is an important issue, especially for those of us who have to dispose of Clinical waste regularly.

Normal Waste Sacks

Normal waste sacks such as black bin-liners and other plastic bags are used for general everyday waste that we throw away in our dustbins. They are designed for non-hazardous materials and can be used as either a liner for your bin to stop a layer of waste gathering on the inside surface, or simply to put your waste straight in. There are a variety of different sizes and thicknesses such as white carrier bags for shopping, up to thicker black sacks used for disposal of construction materials. In most cases they are made of plastic, but in recent years bio-degradable material has been used to lessen the environmental impact the bags have.

Pros and Cons

The main difference between standard waste sacks and clinical is that standard bags cannot be used to dispose of clinical waste. Normal waste sacks can be used for a wider variety of general waste, and are also fairly cheap to obtain, the downside however is that most of them are non-biodegradable.

Clinical Waste Sacks

Clinical waste is defined as:

“any discarded biological product such as blood or tissue removed from operating rooms, morgues, laboratories, or other medical facilities. The term may also be applied to bedding, bandages, syringes, and similar materials that have been used in treating patients and to animal carcasses or body parts used in research. Medical waste is regulated at the state and local levels.”

As you can see, basically any kind of medical or surgical material that needs special disposal and cannot simply be taken to a rubbish dump.

What are they?
Clinical waste sacks are specifically designed bags that are used in the disposal of clinical waste. There are different classifications of bag for different types of clinical waste such as Infectious Clinical Waste, Controlled Drug waste and Pharmaceutical waste. Each bag has a different colour and is designed specifically for the waste it carries. The categories of clinical waste together with their colour coding can be seen below:

Yellow Infectious Waste Incineration
Orange Infectious Waste Treatment or Incineration
Yellow/Black Offensive/Hygiene Waste Deep Landfill
Blue Medical Waste Incineration
Purple Cytotoxic/Cytostatic Waste Incineration
Red Anatomical Waste Incineration

Pros and Cons
Clinical waste sacks are useful as they allow you to safely dispose of your clinical waste in an organised manor without any potential harm to the environment or other people. A waste removal company can pick up these sacks on a regular basis or as needed and they will take care of the disposal. This takes away the hassle of having to find a way to safely get rid of them yourself, you literally need to put your waste in the correct sack and hand them over to the collection service. The only downside is the inconvenience of sorting your waste into separate bags and keeping track of collection dates etc.