Biomedical Waste: Introduction, Classification, Segregation, and Management

Introduction of Biomedical Waste

Biomedical Waste is defined as waste that is generated during the diagnosis treatment or immunization of human beings and is contaminated with patients’ body fluids. (WHO)

 It includes :

  •   Syringes, needles, ampules,
  •   Organs and body parts
  •   Dressings, disposable plastics
  •   Microbiological waste

Sources of biomedical waste areas are government hospitals, private hospitals, nursing homes, physicians or dental clinics, dispensaries, medical research and training establishments, blood banks, collection centers, laboratories, animal houses, and slaughterhouses. 

Biomedical Waste: Introduction, Classification, Segregation, and Management
Biomedical Waste: Segregation and Management

Classification, Segregation, and Management

A variety of biomedical wastes are available but for simplicity, it is divided only into three categories-

  1. Non-infectious
  2. Infectious sharp
  3. Non-infectious sharps

Non-Infectious Waste

e.g.plastic bottles, metal cans, wrapping, packing paper

Collect in a blue container with a lid

Dispose of municipal waste

Infectious sharp

e..g. used needles, blades, scissors

Collect in a yellow leakproof, puncture-resistant container with a lid

It can further be treated by two methods-

Autoclaving- 121°C  at 15 lbs for 30 minutes

Disinfection: Disinfect in hypochlorite solution

soak in 4-5% hypochlorite solution for 1-2 hours

Destroy using a needle destroyer

Bury or handover to the municipality

Non-Infectious Biomedical Waste

Non-Infectious Sharp Waste

Collect waste in a red leakproof container

This type of waste is further classified into two categories-

  1. Infectious Liquid
  2. Infectious Solid

Infectious Liquid: It is further of two types-

  • Blood component not for use, microbial liquid specimens
  • Effluent

Blood component not for use, microbial liquid specimens

Place the units or specimens in an autoclavable plastic bag.

Place the bag in an autoclave bucket.

Autoclave 121°C  at 15 lbs for 30 minutes



Pour in 2% sodium hypochlorite solution to stand for a minimum of 2 hours.

Flush in sink/drain

Infectious Solid

It is further subdivided into-

  1. Reusable infectious waste
  2. Non-reusable infectious waste

Reusable infectious waste

Reusable e.g. test tubes, glassware, tiles

Soak in 1% sodium hypochlorite solution for a minimum of 2 hours.

Wash with liquid soap with ample water

Dry in a hot air oven and reuse

Non-reusable infectious waste

Contaminated swabs, papers, and plastics come in this group.

Autoclave 121°C  at 15 lbs for 30 minutes

Either bury it or handover to the municipality

Objective of Management

The following are the goals of its management-

  • To protect against the risk of spreading diseases.
  • To protect the health and well-being of health personnel and the community.
  • To protect against injury and potentially fatal infection.
  • To provide environment-friendly waste management solutions.
  • To promote the quality and sustainability of the environment.

Further Readings


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