Clinical waste is any waste resulting from medical, nursing, dental, pharmaceutical, skin penetration or other related clinical activity that has the potential to cause injury, infection or offense.

It includes waste containing:

  • human tissue (other than hair, teeth and nails)
  • body fluids or blood
  • visibly blood-stained body fluids, materials or equipment
  • laboratory specimens or cultures
  • animal tissue, carcasses or other waste from animals used for medical research.

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, clinical waste does not include any waste that has been treated by a method approved in writing by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Treated clinical waste no longer has the properties of clinical waste and can be re-classified for waste regulatory purposes. That is, the waste is no longer injurious, infectious or able to give rise to offense.

Following changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 in 2023, NSW EPA now manage applications and approvals for methods to treat clinical waste.

For more information on clinical waste management visit NSW EPA.

Health care facilities

Current as at: Thursday 29 June 2023
Contact page owner: Environmental Health