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Hospital Waste Management

  1. Synonym - Bio medical waste, regulated medical waste etc.
  2. Amount of waste generated per bed in a hospital setting - 1.5 - 2.0 Kg; of this 75 - 90% are general wastes and 10 -15% is hazardous wastes.
  1. Health effects of wastes
    1. Disease transmission
    2. Toxic hazards
    3. Pollution
    4. Vector breeding
    5. Injury
  2. Classification of hospital wastes ­
    1. General waste: Largely composed of domestic or house hold type waste. It is non-hazardous to human beings, e.g. kitchen waste, packaging material, paper, wrappers, plastics.(Is also disposed off in Black bag) (AIIMS Nov’08).
    2. Pathological waste: Consists of tissue, organ, body part, human fetuses, blood and body fluid. It is hazardous waste.
    3. Infectious waste: The wastes which contain pathogens in sufficient concentration or quantity that could cause diseases: It is hazardous e.g. culture and stocks of infectious agents from laboratories, waste from surgery, waste originating from infectious patients.
    4. Sharps: Waste materials which could cause the person handling it, a cut or puncture of skin e.g. needles, broken glass, saws, nail, blades, scalpels.
    5. Pharmaceutical waste: This includes pharmaceutical products, drugs, and chemicals that have been returned from wards, have been spilled, are outdated, or contaminated.
    6. Chemical waste: This comprises discarded solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals e.g. cleaning, house keeping, and disinfecting product.
    7. Radioactive waste: It includes solid, liquid, and gaseous waste that is contaminated with radionuclides generated from in-vitro analysis of body tissues and fluid, in-vivo body organ imaging and tumour localization and therapeutic procedures.
      Country          Quantity (kg/bed/day)
      India               1.5
  3. Approach for hospital waste management
    Act: Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 1998, notified under the Environment Protection Act by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (Government of India).
    1. Segregation of waste
      Segregation is the essence of waste management and should be done at the source of generation of Bio­medical waste e.g. all patient care activity areas, diagnostic services areas, operation theaters, labour rooms, treatment rooms etc. The responsibility of segregation should be with the generator of biomedical waste i.e. doctors, nurses, technicians etc. (medical and paramedical personnel). The biomedical waste should be segregated as per categories mentioned in the rules.
    2. Collection of bio-medical waste
      Collection of bio-medical waste should be done as per Bio-medical waste (Management and Handling) Rules. At ordinary room temperature the collected waste should not be stored for more than 24 hours.
  4. Type of container and colour code for collection of bio-medical waste.
Categories of bio-medical waste q

Waste Category No.

Waste Category Type

Treatment and Disposal Option +

Category No. 1

Human Anatomical Waste (human tissues, organs, body parts)

Incineration @ / deep burial*

Category No. 2

Animal Waste (animal tissues, organs, body parts carcasses, bleeding parts, fluid, blood and experimental animals used in research, waste generated by veterinary hospital, animal house)

Incineration @ / deep burial

Category No 3

Microbiology & Biotechnology Waste (wastes from laboratory cultures, stocks or specimens of micro-organisms live or attenuated vaccines, human and animal cell culture used I research and infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories, wastes from production of biologicals, toxins, dishes and devices used for transfer of cultures)

Local autoclaving / micro waving / incineration @

Category no 4(AIIMS Nov’08)

Waste sharps (needles, syringes, scalpels, blades, glass, etc. that may cause puncture and cuts. This includes both used and unused sarps

Disinfection (chemical treatment@ / autoclaving / micro-waving and mutilation / shredding

Category no. 5

Discarded Medicines and cytotoxic drugs (wastes comprising of outdated, contaminated and discarded medicines)

Incineration @ autoclaving / micro waving

Category No. 6

Soiled Waste

(Items contaminated with blood, and body fluids including cotton, dressings, soiled plaster casts, lines, bedding, other material contaminated with blood)

Incineration @ autoclaving / micro waving

Category No. 7

Solid Waste

(Wastes generated from disposable items other than the waste sharps such as tubing’s, catheters, intravenous sets etc.)

Disinfection by chemical treatment @@ autoclaving / Micro waving and mutilation / shredding##

Category No. 8

Liquid Waste

(waste generated from laboratory and washing, cleaning, house – keeping and disinfecting activities)

Disinfection by chemical treatment @@ and discharge into drain.

Category No. 9

Incineration Ash

9Ash from incineration of any bio-medical waste)

Disposal in municipal landfill

Category No. 10

Chemical Waste

(Chemicals used in production of biologicals, chemicals used in disinfection, as insecticides, etc.

Chemical treatment @@ and discharge into drains for liquids and secured landfill for solids.

  1. Important
    1. Deep burial shall be an option available only in towns with population less than five lakhs and in rural areas.
      Mutilation/shredding must be such so as to prevent unauthorized reuse.
    2. There will be no chemical pretreatment before incineration.
      1. Options given above are based on available technologies.
      2. Occupier/operator wishing to use other State-of-the ­art technologies shall approach the Central Pollution Control Board to get the standards laid down to enable the prescribed authority to consider grant of authorization @ @ Chemicals treatment using at least 1% hypochlorite solution or any other equivalent chemical reagent.
      3. It must be ensured that chemical treatment ensures disinfection.
      4. Chlorinated plastics shall not be incinerated.
  1. Colour Coding and Type of Container for disposal of Bio – Medical Wastes

Colour Coding

Types of Container –I Waste Category

Treatment options as per Schedule I


Plastic bag Cat. 1, Cat. 2, and Cat. 3, Cat. 6

Incineration / deep burial


Disinfected container / plastic bag Cat. 3, Cat. 6, Cat. 7.

Autoclaving / Micro waving / Chemical Treatment

Blue/White translucent

Plastic bag/puncture proof Cat. 4, Cat. 7, Container

Autoclaving / Micro waving / Chemical treatment and destruction/ shredding


Plastic bag Cat. 5 and Cat. 9 and Cat. 10 (solid)

Disposal in secured landfill


  1. Colour coding of waste categories with multiple treatment options as defined in Schedule I, shall be selected depending on treatment option chosen, which shall be as specified in Schedule I.
  2. Waste collection bags for waste types needing incineration shall not be made of chlorinated plastics.
  3. Categories 8 and 10 (liquid) do not require containers/bags.
  4. Category 3 if disinfected locally need not be put in containers/bags.

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