Hazardous Waste Segregation, Storage and Disposal

The European Waste Catalogue (EWC) was created to classify materials and categorise all types of waste according to what they are and how they are produced. The EWC code is required to be used on all UK duty of care transfer notes, and is referred to in a number of EU directives.

Guidance On Registration

As of the 1st April 2016 dental practices in England are no longer required to register their premises with the Environmental Agency, in addition to this the format of the unique consignment note codes will also be altering.

Companies in Wales must register with Natural Resources Wales.

Companies in Scotland and Northern Ireland don’t need to register.

If the practice in England is producing or holding hazardous waste they are no longer required to register the premises on an annual basis. The hazardous waste still needs to be collected by a reputable waste company/contractor and management of records need to be maintained.

The coding will change on the consignment notes but these still need to be kept for a 3 year period for inspections and audits.

The waste contractors will still need to manage your waste as this is part of the ‘duty of care’.

Hazardous Waste Legislation & Practice Policy

The dental practice has a legal obligation to comply with the following legislation:

  • EU Waste Framework Directive 2011.
  • The Controlled Waste Regulations 2012.
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • Duty of Care Regulations.
  • The Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations

The dental team must be trained in the correct:

Handling of hazardous waste

  • Segregation
  • Storage
  • Disposal
  • Documentation

 Controlled hazardous waste must be not be deposited unlawfully – this means that amalgam waste must not go down the sinks or toilet in the practice. And must not be placed in the orange clinical waste bags.

Correct Segregation Of Dental Amalgam

Amalgam Separators

In 2005 it came into effect that all suction units should be fitted with an amalgam separator to collect the mercury hazardous waste.

The amalgam separator should meet the BS ISO criteria and CE marked to meet CQC Regulation 15 Premises and Equipment.

Teeth with amalgam fillings

Extracted teeth containing amalgam fillings should be segregated into a separate container. This container is usually supplied under contract from the company you use for hazardous waste.

HTM 0-07 Safe Management of Healthcare Waste

19 Teeth

As the disposal of teeth from dental practices is unlikely to cause offence, dental practitioners may treat this as non-autonomical infectious waste. It is common practice for non-amalgam teeth and spicules to be placed in the yellow-lidded sharps receptacle. Dental practitioners must ensure that all waste is treated appropriately, and teeth containing amalgam should be segregated and sent for appropriate recovery/disposal.

5.57 Amalgam – white containers

Amalgam waste consists of amalgam in any form and includes all other materials contaminated with amalgam. Amalgam waste should be placed in rigid white receptacles with a mercury suppressant.

Amalgam waste should be sent to suitably licensed or permitted waste management facilities where the waste undergoes a mercury recovery process prior to final disposal.

Mecury Spillages

An amalgam spillage kit should be used in the event of a mercury spillage.

You should never:

  • Never use a vacuum cleaner, brush or mop to clean up the spillage
  • Never pour mercury or amalgam waste down the drain or toilets
  • Never wash mercury contaminated clothes in a washing machine
  • Never continue wearing shoes that have been contaminated with mercury

You should:

  • Open a window to ventilate the area
  • Leave the room until you begin to clean up the spillage
  • Advise others not to enter the room until after the clean up
  • Locate the amalgam spillage kit

Waste Segregation

Container Type

Example Waste Description


Classification & EWC Codes


Sharps Recepticle (Yellow Lid)

Clinical Waste: Mixed sharps and pharmaceurtical waste

Hypodermic needles, syringes and syringe barrels including those contaminated with medicines (not cytotoxic and cytostatic).

Used medicine vials.

Other sharp instruments or items including teeth without amalgam fillings.

18 01 03 & 10 01 09


Incineration only

Soft clinical wastes (orange bag)

Clinicle waste: Infectious

Blood-contaminated dressings, disposable gowns, clinical gloves, PPE (contaminated disposable gowns and clinical gloves) and swabs, and other waste that may present a risk of infection (including saliva-contaminated items from known infectious patients or where medical history is not available).

No medicinally, chemically or amalgam contaminated wastes.

18 01 03


treatment or incineration

Medicines (rigid leakproof container)

Clinical waste: non-cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines

Non-cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines including used and out-of-date stock.

18 01 09


Incineration only

Offensive or hygiene wastes


Offensive / hygiene waste from dental care, for example saliva-contaminated infection risk is present.


Gowns, gloves, tissues and other items from dental care which are not contaminated with blood, medicines, chemicals or amalgam.

18 01 04


Landfill or municipal incineration/
energy from waste.


Municipal offensive/hygiene

Hygiene waste from toilets only.

20 01 99


Amalgam waste

Dental amalgam: Infectious, clinical waste.

Teeth with amalgam fillings.

18 01 10



Metal recovery

Dental amalgam and mercury: Non-infectious.

Dental amalgam and mercury including spent and out-of-date capsules, excess mixed amalgam, and contents of amalgam separators.

Plaster Cast Waste

Plaster Cast Waste

Gypsum or calcium sulphate study or working models.

18 01 04

Gypsum recovery or landfill in a separate dedicated cell for gypsum.

X-ray fixer (container type not specified)

Photographic fixer

Waste photographic fixer from X-ray (must be kept separate from developer).

09 01 04


Recovery (various)

Photographic developer

Waste photographic developer from X-ray (must be kept separate from fixer).

X-ray film

X-ray film

Waste photographic film from X-ray.

09 01 07

Silver recovery

Lead foils (container type not specified)

X-ray lead foils from dentistry

Lead foils from X-ray film packaging.

15 01 04


Recovery (various)


Municipal waste

Mixed municipal waste

Domestic type refuse: food packaging, paper/magazines that cannot be recycled, paper towels (no hazardous wastes).

20 03 01


Landfill or municipal incineration/ energy from waste.

Page Version 1.1