9 - Safe disposal of waste (including sharps)

Different types of waste will be produced within care homes. 

Some waste may be disposed of through the domestic waste route but other types of waste needs special handling and disposal for example sharps and waste from people who have or may have an infection.

Waste bags in care settings may be colour coded to denote the various categories of waste.

Local procedures and policies on waste disposal must be followed.

Segregation (separating) of waste

Care home waste disposal may differ from categories described and guidance from local contractors may apply.

Safe management of waste

Your care home should make sure that:

waste is correctly segregated according to local regulations;

the correct colour coded bags are being used according to local regulations;

there is a dedicated area for storage of clinical waste that is not accessible to residents or the public;

waste is stored in a safe place whilst awaiting uplift;

there is a schedule for emptying domestic waste bins at the end of the day and during the day if needed.

Staff should:

follow the schedule for emptying domestic waste bins;

always use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE);

dispose of waste immediately as close as possible to where it was produced;

dispose of clinical waste into the correct UN 3291 approved waste bin or sharps container;

ensure that waste bins are never overfilled. Once the waste bin is three quarters full, tie waste bags up and put into the main waste bin;

use a ‘swan neck’ technique for closure of the bag and label with date and location as per local policy.

clean waste bins regularly with a general purpose neutral detergent;

remove PPE and perform hand hygiene when you have finished handling waste.


Read the safe disposal of waste literature review to find out more about why we do things this way when dealing with waste.