Cracking the colour code – part two

Continuing the discussion of the clinical waste colour coding system set out by the Department of Health, red, tiger, purple and black are among the eight colours used to help segregate and dispose of waste effectively and safely.


Red is the assigned colour for anatomical waste. Anatomical waste might be hazardous or non-hazardous, and includes any waste generated from the body. This might include:

  • body parts (excluding extracted teeth)
  • blood bags
  • blood preserves
  • animal parts


Dental practices will usually have little need for red waste disposal but, for obvious reasons, it remains important to understand what it involves. All anatomical waste generated should be placed into a yellow, rigid and leak-proof container with a red lid. The container must be clearly marked as ‘anatomical waste – for incineration ONLY’ and should display the theatre name or site number and date for easy identification. Different sized bins are available depending on the volume of red waste being generated, with the leading products designed to help prevent spillages and unpleasant odours.

As with all other clinical waste streams, once you have packaged and stored any…

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