Handling COVID-19 Medical Waste

Updated March 2020

Stericycle’s Regulatory and Safety teams have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 (formally known as novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV), particularly developments made in infection control related to the proper management of medical waste generated during treatment of patients infected with the virus. We are managing waste generated during treatment of COVID-19 in healthcare facilities across the country.

Waste Management

The current position in the UK is that the waste should be packaged and transported in accordance with the requirements for Category B pathogens and is suitable for alternative treatment disposal.

This means that the waste can be packaged in orange bags and consigned as infectious clinical waste suitable for treatment (EWC code 180103, UN number UN3291, Stericycle waste type HT).

This information can be found in the guidance document COVID-19: Guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings available here.

Packaging Guideline Reminders

Waste producers must ensure that COVID-19 waste is packaged in UN approved containers that are correctly sealed and marked. All waste must be packaged and presented for collection in accordance with our Waste Acceptance Criteria which can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE: Stericycle Reusable Sharps Customers

Reusable sharps containers can be used in the normal way, however where Stericycle employs in-service technicians to exchange the containers in clinical areas, our team members cannot enter isolation rooms or wards where COVID-19 patients are being treated.

If the customer cannot facilitate disinfection of the container (e.g. using an external surface wipe or spray as part of room cleaning) and its removal from the isolation area to a transfer area, then single use disposable containers must be used.

Stericycle Proactive Measures

At Stericycle, we are taking proactive measures to keep our team members, healthcare workers and communities safe in the wake of the current global Coronavirus situation. We have a global, cross-functional team monitoring the situation to ensure precautions are taken accordingly and communicated effectively.

To date at Stericycle:

  • We have established a ban on all travel to high-risk countries. Additionally, we are limiting business travel to matters critical to safety, compliance, maintenance and essential customer support.
  • We are communicating governmental guidance on infection prevention and when to self-isolate and seek medical assistance to each one of our team members, and we require them to follow this guidance.
  • We have established procedures for the safe and compliant management and disposal of clinical waste arising from the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
  • Our Environmental, Safety and Health and leadership teams are routinely communicating with our organisation and providing guidance on precautionary measures for both work and home.

At present, we will continue to service all our customers, taking into account the above precautions. Our regulatory and safety teams are continuously monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, and we will adapt our practices as necessary should the situation evolve

For more information