Ensuring that care home waste is disposed of in the correct waste stream is a process fraught with potential error. Failure to comply with strict regulations may even risk putting your care home in danger of not being able to operate, as Kim Ormsby, assistant director at healthcare waste management company Anenta, explains
Recent incidents within the healthcare waste sector have led to a growing emphasis on the need for producers of waste to comply with governing regulation. This is partly because the Environment Agency has witnessed disposal capacity issues, but also because of pressure on the UK to meet its sustainability and net carbon reduction targets. As a result, positive steps are now being taken, including making sure that waste producers segregate waste correctly, confirm the composition of their waste accurately, and train their staff appropriately.
Just like any other healthcare provider, care homes need to comply with the management of healthcare waste in accordance with the revised Health Technical Memorandum 0701 (HTM 0701). This includes the completion of waste pre-acceptance audits, without which hazardous and non-hazardous healthcare waste cannot be legally removed from your site. Failure to undertake a pre-acceptance audit therefore risks operational disruption until an audit is completed, which could in turn impact on resident safety due to the build-up of both hazardous and infectious waste
Detailed compositional audits of care home waste, undertaken both by Anenta and separately by the Environment Agency, have proven that a significant amount of contamination exists within the various waste streams produced by care homes. Worryingly, 70 per cent of waste is consistently put in the wrong waste channels, and that includes 90 per cent of clinical waste and 35 per cent of offensive waste that is regularly contaminated with recyclable materials
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