Escape the Red Tape of Yellow-Bag Waste Disposal

Traditional yellow bag waste disposal poses a number of issues for busy hospitals. From the obvious unpleasantness of carrying the bags around wards and the cumulative storage of waste in central bins, to the hefty paperwork required to ensure compliant removal from your site to keep the Environment Agency happy, the drain on already-stretched resources is considerable – yet avoidable.

Automatic, instant waste disposal equipment is readily available, and removes the need for nurses, facilities managers and NHS Trusts as a whole to check the credentials of the organisation your waste is being collected by, keep all paperwork for 2 years, or take steps to actively prevent anyone from disposing of waste unlawfully once it has left your site. The latter being almost impossible to achieve!

With a range of automatic bedpan washers and medical macerators on the market, the excuses for NHS bodies to stay in the ‘comfort zone’ of bagged disposal are surely running out. As Paul Farrell, JLA’s Medical Product Manager affirms:

“Hospitals can now be completely free of offensive, potentially infectious waste within minutes through a macerator…which begs the question ‘why continue with a risky process that involves collecting and carrying waste before storing it in your hospital for hours every day?’

Yellow bagging obviously brings with it a risk of spillage and cross-contamination, but there’s a massive ‘bureaucracy’ hangover too. Even when the waste is long gone, departments still have to store licensing documents and audit trails to prove the waste has been managed appropriately.”

General unpleasantness aside, the ‘pack and pick-up’ method used for default disposal puts wards at risk of HAI outbreak and ultimately, closure. Poorly patients are of course most at risk from other poorly patients, so even the slightest risk of infection spreading through spillage of a waste bag or insufficient control of the overall dirty-to-clean process would result in a localised lock-down, which carries financial implications as well as a compromise on wellbeing. And in turn, less landfill means less incineration which has an obvious benefit for the planet.

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