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You are here:home > Environment > Rubbish and Recycling > Clinical Waste

Clinical Waste

In the context of this service, clinical waste includes:-

  • soiled medical dressings contaminated with body fluids or blood;
  • used syringes and needles;
  • other waste from a client suffering from an infectious disease.

Clinical waste is always collected in orange bags as indicated, so as to ensure that such waste does not get mixed with normal domestic waste. This is a legal requirement.

For more information, please see the FAQ links below.

Clinical Waste Collection Service FAQs

1. How to arrange a Clinical Waste Collection

Clinical waste is not collected on request from the general public unless they have previously registered with us. In most cases, clinical waste collections in Southampton are done through a surgery or health care centre.

For more information on clinical waste collections and how to arrange one, please see the information below, or call the Public Health Service on 023 8083 2531.


Collection of sharps/needles (Group B waste)


Following referral by your Surgery/Health Centre, a box will be delivered and a frequency of collections arranged.

Collections of Group B clinical waste must only contain discarded syringe needles, cartridges and any other contaminated disposable sharp instruments or items.

Please do not include any non contaminated cardboard container or other general waste as these should be included in your normal domestic refuse collection.
Please ensure waste is ready for collection from your arranged collection point.

Routine requests for service should be made by telephoning 023 8083 2531.  Please also inform us on this number if you need to have the service temporarily suspended for any reason, eg hospital stays.



Special Collection of Clinical/Sanpro Waste

Once a clinical waste referral form has been received from a surgery or health centre, a regular special collection will be arranged. This service is provided by the Public Health Service of Southampton City Council.

A frequency of collection and first collection date will also be arranged, depending on what was requested on the referral form.

You will be provided with special yellow bags, which must be used for your clinical waste only.  Each bag should not be filled more than three quarters full and should be securely tied at the neck to prevent any escape of the waste.  Please place your bags outside your property in an accessible location after 8.30am on the date you are given for your collection.  You will then receive subsequent collections on the same weekday at the required intervals.

Please note that ordinary black bin bags are unsuitable for this special collection and will NOT be picked up as part of this service.

If you have any queries or should your circumstances change and you need to amend any aspect of your referral, such as collection intervals or suspend your collection until further notice, then you should contact the Public Health Service on  023 8083 2531.

2. What is 'offensive' waste?

'Offensive' waste, includes waste which although not infectious may, nevertheless, cause offence should persons come into contact with it. Such waste when collected in significant quantities should be appropriately packaged to alert those in the waste management chain of it's contents.

This includes sanitary product (Sanpro) waste material which is waste that has come into contact with body cavity waste (urine and faeces) from an otherwise healthy person. This is usually because the person requires the containment of such waste due to incontinence or as a result of a medical operation. Offensive waste includes:-

  • incontinence pads;
  • stoma such as colostomy bags and urine (ureostomy) bags;
  • babies nappies whilst coming under the broad definition of 'Sanpro' waste, are not considered as such in the context of this service.

'Offensive' waste can also include medical or veterinary items and equipment which does not pose a risk of infection or to safety and includes gowns, plaster casts and similar items.

'Offensive' waste can be collected by the city council's clinical waste collection service by prior arrangement in a black bag with a yellow stripe so as to distinguish it from normal domestic waste and clinical waste.

Please note that offensive (or Sanpro) waste from a healthy patient living in the domestic setting can be disposed of in the normal domestic waste stream, once the bag has been emptied of body cavity waste into a sanitary convenience as is normal practice. There is exception to this where that same person does not have access to a rigid bin waste storage facility i.e. wheelie bin or equivalent. In the latter case they may request a collection from the clinical waste collection service.

3. Why is there a need for a clinical waste collection service?

Due to the infectious nature of some clinical waste, it is classified as hazardous waste under the law and therefore requires safe disposal as appropriate to the level of risk. In most cases appropriate disposal is determined as being through incineration, or heat treatment prior to landfill.

4. Who are our customers?

  • Residents receiving medical treatment at home.
  • Residents generating offensive waste who do not have a rigid bin in which to store their waste prior to collection or have a mobility issue preventing access to a shared bin facility.

5. How do we collect clinical waste and where does the clinical waste go?

Collections are made on an agreed collection day by a driver in a 'Luton' type van. The van contains enclosed euro bins which are loaded and unloaded via a tail lift.

During each round the collector picks up the clinical and 'offensive' waste from each customer at the same time supplying new bags and bins as required. The driver then places the bags in the euro bins inside the van.

Once the round has been completed the waste is taken to a licensed waste transfer site in Marchwood, from where it is subsequently transported in bulk to a licensed waste treatment facility.

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