• Hospital waste is “Any waste which is generated in the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of human beings or animals or in research” in a hospital.

  • Hospital Waste Management means the management of waste produced by hospitals using such techniques that will help to check the spread of diseases through

Hospital Waste categories and Disposal


Waste Category

Treatment & Disposal

Category 1

Human anatomical waste

Incineration /deep burial

Category 2

Animal waste

Incineration /deep burial

Category 3

Microbiology & biotechnology waste

Incineration /deep burial

Category 4


Incineration / disinfection /chemical treatment /mutilation

Category 5

Medicines and cytotoxic drugs

Incineration / destruction and disposal in secured landfill

Category 6

Solid waste (Blood and Body fluids)

Autoclave/chemical treatment/burial

Category 7

Solid waste (disposable items)

Autoclave/chemical treatment/burial

Category 8

Liquid waste ( blood & body fluids)

Disinfection by chemicals/discharge into drains

Category 9

Incineration Ash

Disposal in municipal landfill

Category 10

Chemical waste

Chemical treatment/ secure landfill



WHO Medical Waste Categories


Materials containing pathogens if exposed can cause disease.

  • Human anatomical waste: waste from surgery and autopsies on patients with infectious diseases;
  • Sharps: disposable needles, syringes, saws, blades, broken glasses, nails or any other item that could cause a cut;
  • Pathological: tissues, organs, body parts, human flesh, fetuses, blood and body fluids;

Non Infectious (Hazardous)    

  • Pharmaceuticals: drugs and chemicals that are returned from wards, spilled, outdated, contaminated, or are no longer required;
  • Radioactive: solids, liquids and gaseous waste contaminated with radioactive substances used in diagnosis and treatment of diseases like toxic goiter.

Non Infectious (Non Hazardous)

  • Domestic waste: from the offices, kitchens, rooms, including bed linen, utensils, paper, etc.

Hospital waste management programme

  1. Identification of waste types
  2. Segregation of waste
  3. Transport  & storage of waste
  4. Proper disposal of waste
  5. Implementation of contingency plans
  6. Identify the need for use of personal protective equipment

Segregation by color coding system

Three categories

  • Infectious waste – Red bags
  • Domestic waste – Green Bags
  • Sharps –  Needle cutters / Puncture proof containers
  • Segregation at Source ( ward, operation theater, laboratory, labour room, other places)


  • Containers: puncture proof, leak proof,
  • Bags: sturdy, properly tied
  • Transport trolleys:  designated & timely
  • Staff protection: provided with protective clothing and other items
  • Never put hands in a bag

Waste storage

  • Closed covered area
  • Away from the normal passages
  • Easily accessible for transportation
  • Radioactive waste special containers/ special treatment and disposal

Proper disposal of waste

  • All infectious waste and sharps containers :Incineration
  • All Domestic waste : Landfill
  • All hazardous waste : Chemical treatment before disposal

Implementation of contingency plans

  • Contingency plans have to be in place to be implemented whenever any of the steps in the chain breaks and everyone should be aware of their responsibilities in case of breakdown.

Identify the need for use of personal protective equipment

  • Special clothing, gloves, masks and eye protection should be identified and provided to the healthcare workers responsible for waste transportation and disposal.