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2007 Disposal of Soiled Linen, Waste and Sharps Policy









Disposal of Soiled Linen, Waste and Sharps

Page updated 30 April 2007

Disposal of Soiled Linen, Waste and Sharps

Key Points

All clinical waste must go in a yellow waste sack

The rest must go in black bags

Waste bags must not be overfilled

Bags are tied using labelled ties for traceability


The nurse-in-charge of any clinical area is responsible for making sure that the following policies are enacted.

Bag / Waste Colour Codes

Display the colour coding chart for waste disposal in a prominent place and on sack-holder lids.

Do not tie up bags, use label ties which indicate source of the waste.

Black: Domestic waste (not infected or contaminated)
  Yellow: Clinical or infected waste (to be incinerated)
  Clear or White plastic: Used linen
  Clear alginate bag inside a red plastic bag: Soiled and infected linen*
    Pink/Blue: Food discard.
  Grey: Patient's clothes and property.

*These bags are laundered whole and the alginate dissolves in the washing machine to release the contents.


Used Linen

Soiled and Infected Linen and from infected patients



Disposal of Sharps


Health and Safety Commission Health Services Advisory Committee. Safe disposal of clinical waste. London : HMSO, 1992.

BS 7320: 1990. Specifications for sharp containers. London : British Standards, 1990.

UN Committee on Transport of Dangerous Goods. Clinical Waste, unspecified NOS or (bio) medical waste NOS, or regulated medical waste, NOS. UN 3291 specification. Geneva : United Nations.

Health and Safety Executive Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens Categorisation of biological agents according to hazard and categories of containment. 4th Edition. London : HMSO, 1995.