The College of Optometrists

Safe disposal of waste

You must take all reasonable steps to deal appropriately with controlled, clinical and offensive waste, including both non-hazardous and hazardous waste.170 171 172 173 
Controlled waste is defined as waste from households, industry or commerce.
Clinical waste means waste from a healthcare activity¸ and waste of a similar nature from a non-healthcare activity, that:174
  1. contains viable microorganisms or their toxins which are known or reliably believed to cause disease in humans or other living organisms
  2. contains or is contaminated with a medicine that contains a biologically active pharmaceutical agent, or
  3. is a sharp, or a body fluid or other biological material (including human and animal tissue) containing or contaminated with a dangerous substance within the meaning of Council Directive 67/548/EEC on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances.
Offensive waste means waste that:175
  1. is not clinical waste
  2. contains body fluids, secretions or excretions, and
  3. falls within code 18-01-04, 18-02-03 or 20-01-99 in Schedule 1 to –
    • the List of Wastes (England) Regulations 2005, in relation to England,176  or
    • the List of Wastes (Wales) Regulations 2005, in relation to Wales.177


170 Environmental Protection Act, 1990.
171 College of Optometrists (2014) Guidance on the disposal of waste [College members only] [Accessed 15 Nov 2017]
172 Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Clinical waste [Accessed 2 Nov 2017]
173 Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Waste [Accessed 2 Nov 2017]
174 Controlled Waste Regulations 2012 SI 588.
175 Classify different types of waste [Accessed 2 Nov2017]
176 The List of Wastes (England) Regulations 2005 SI895
177 The List of Wastes (Wales) Regulations 2005 SI1820

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