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Sanitary Waste Disposal

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what (a) statutory and (b) other guidelines apply to the disposal of sanitary waste in private care homes; and which body is responsible for monitoring compliance; (197653)

(2) whether sanitary waste is included in his Department's definition of clinical waste.

Statutory responsibility for environmental and waste legislation rests with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The management of waste, its storage, carriage, treatment and disposal and health and safety requirements are governed by legislation, including the Hazardous Waste Regulations and Lists of Waste Regulations 2005. The Environment Agency is the regulatory body for compliance.

The Department has produced guidance document Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 07-01 “Safe management of health care waste” that includes advice on the disposal of sanitary waste appropriate to private care homes. The term ‘sanitary’ waste is defined as ‘offensive/hygiene waste’ in HTM 07-01. The guidance is applicable to all producers of health care waste and not only the national health service. A copy of HTM 07-01 is available in the Library and is also available at:

‘Offensive/hygiene’ waste describes waste which is non-infectious and which does not require specialist treatment or disposal, but which may cause offence to those who come into contact with it, such as sanitary or ‘sanpro' waste. The guidance provides advice based on assessment procedures to determine the medicinal, chemical, infectious and offensive properties of health care waste to ensure waste is disposed at appropriately licensed facilities.