Waste Management

Health and Safety

Under Section 34 the Environmental Protection Act 1990  employers have a duty of care to make sure all waste is safely and legally managed at all stages from its production to its final disposal. As ‘waste producers’, dental practice teams are responsible for ensuring that waste is correctly segregated at source, packaged, labelled, stored, transported and disposed of according to legal requirements. They must keep records of all waste movements and have an up-to-date written waste management policy describing their local procedures.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012, marks a change from waste management to waste minimisation, prevention and reuse, and include responsibilities for waste producers and managers to take reasonable steps to increase the quantity and quality of recyclable materials. These responsibilities are set out in a Scottish Government guidance document “Duty of Care – A code of practice” (PDF)

Effective since 2007, The Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (an amendment of the Special Waste Regulations 1996) require all clinical (renamed healthcare) waste to be segregated and classified as special waste. (Note that outside Scotland ‘special’ waste is referred to as ‘hazardous’ waste.)

These amendments clarified and highlighted the colour-coded waste stream (red) for individual, potentially toxic products that require specialised recovery and disposal (e.g. dental radiography chemicals, amalgam and amalgam-filled teeth). It should be noted Materials Safety Data Sheets supplied with products should indicate the waste classification.

The colour-coded waste streams referred to throughout this section are the NHS Scotland national standard. You are advised to check these with your local Health Board, Waste Management Officer, as local variations may exist.

An overview of best practice in waste management is given in the NHS Scotland Waste Management Guidance v7 (SHTN 03-01). The advice given throughout this section is in line with the best practice discussed in SHTN 03-01, which is applicable to all healthcare facilities including dental practices in Scotland.

The previous version of  NHS Scotland Waste Management Guidelines (parts A,B,C,D) has been superseded and archived, but these documents remain available on the NSS website.  The comprehensive advice within the PSM is derived from the more detailed information within the archived guidance.