New guidance on waste auditing for large healthcare producers has been published by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), designed to provide simple and concise guidance on pre-acceptance waste audits, as required by the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations.
Pre-acceptance waste audits are required to ensure that healthcare wastes are sent for the correct treatment and disposal, and robust auditing and reporting practices are essential to ensure compliance.
Good auditing, however, also brings other benefits, including potentially significant cost savings and carbon footprint reductions that can be realised by efficient and appropriate segregation of higher and lower risk healthcare waste streams.
The Royal College of Nursing has estimated that there is the potential for annual savings of approximately £5.5m for the NHS if just 20 percent of incorrectly classified infectious waste were to be reclassified as offensive waste with lower associated waste management costs.
Mat Crocker, Environment Agency, said: ”This guidance for producers of healthcare waste sets out how waste audits can help producers both to fulfil their requirements and to enable their waste management contractor to comply with their legal obligations”
The new guidance, prepared by the Institution’s Healthcare Waste Special Interest Group, which has also had input from a range of healthcare waste experts including practitioners, academics, and consultants, has been widely welcomed.
Mat Crocker, head of illegals & waste for the Environment Agency, said: ”It is essential that producers of waste correctly segregate and describe their waste to ensure that it is managed correctly and gets to the right place. This guidance for producers of healthcare waste sets out how waste audits can help producers both to fulfil their requirements and to enable their waste management contractor to comply with their legal obligations. The Environment Agency welcomes this publication and the work that CIWM has put into its production.”
The guidance has also been endorsed by the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Victoria Sawford, Environmental Services Manager for the Trust, said: ”I believe this will be a very useful tool, especially for those who are new to the waste management sector. It not only highlights the legal requirements but also provides a step-by-step approach to the audit methodology, as well as enabling the user to make an informed decision with regards to the packaging, collection, storage, transportation and disposal routes for the various waste types produced within the healthcare environment.”
Pre-acceptance waste audits: a guidance document for large healthcare waste producers in England is available to download HERE