Anaesthetic waste, Safe and sustainable disposal: a compendium of waste segregation flow charts for England and Wales
Waste is an unfortunate and visible by-product of the procedures undertaken and services provided for our patients. It has been identified as a carbon hotspot in healthcare and in 2016/17 NHS providers were responsible for generating almost 590,000 tonnes of waste; 1.7% of all commercial and industrial waste in England.
The primary aim of waste management in the UK is to ensure that it is handled, treated and disposed of safely, cost effectively and in a manner that does not impact negatively on the environment. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure that all waste is disposed of safely and in compliance with the law. Not all waste that we produce is healthcare waste (HCW) and not all HCW is hazardous, or needs to be classified as such, and so there are a wide range of waste streams available to us.
The purpose of this document is to outline the different waste streams available and to demonstrate which types of anaesthetic waste would be suitable for disposal into each stream whilst ensuring that we meet our legal obligations in a way that has the least negative impact on our environment. A separate document outlining waste streams available and accompanying waste flow charts for Scotland and Ireland will be published at a later date.