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General Policy
Estates, Facilities and Capital Services
Waste Management Officer
Head of Facilities
Director of Estates, Facilities & Capital Services
30 November 2013
16 February 2024
16 February 2026


NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out. New policies will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.

Reviewed policies will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.

If a policy is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy review is complete and the new version published, or if national policy or legislative changes are made.

1.          FUNCTION 

1.1    This document sets out the policy objectives, the supporting management responsibilities and organisational arrangements for waste management in NHS Fife, in keeping with statutory and mandatory requirements.

1.2    NHS Fife takes seriously the requirements for a structured approach to the management of waste generated by the Board or on its behalf.

1.3    NHS Fife recognises that the management of waste is a significant responsibility comparable in importance to other management and performance objectives.

1.4    NHS Fife recognises the importance of the Waste Management Officer (WMO) to coordinate and review waste management activities. NHS Fife acknowledges that waste management can only be effective when everyone (staff, patients and visitors) takes responsibility for waste. This is consistent with the Scottish Government’s commitments towards zero-waste and a circular economy.

1.5    NHS Fife is committed to the effective and safe management of waste. It aims to achieve this through the development of realistic and acceptable risk-based procedures focusing on waste minimisation, re-use, and recycling. 

1.6    NHS Fife is committed to ensuring compliance with Standing Financial Instructions and all relevant statutory and mandatory requirements by undertaking, maintaining, and monitoring the performance of management arrangements and mitigating risks.

1.7    NHS Fife will, as far is reasonably practicable, ensure that waste is secure from areas of public access and properly and efficiently managed throughout, in keeping with the statutory obligations of the Duty of Care. 

1.8    NHS Fife recognises its responsibilities to all its employees, including agency, contract, and volunteer staff, under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act1974, and associated Regulations. NHS Fife will provide employees with sufficient information, training, supervision, equipment, and safe systems of work to carry out their duties in the implementation of this policy.

1.9    NHS Fife recognises its responsibilities to minimise the amount of waste generated and, where appropriate, consider and purchase items with recycled content, thereby stimulating recycling markets.

1.10    NHS Fife requires the assistance and cooperation of all employees in the pursuit of this policy.

2.         LOCATION

2.1    This Policy applies to all members of staff, contractors and any other party undertaking business for, or on behalf of, NHS Fife.

2.2    This Policy applies to all premises and sites owned or controlled by NHS Fife.

2.3    This policy applies to all wastes that arise from premises and land which is owned, leased, or used in the delivery of NHS Fife healthcare services. This includes all scrap, surplus materials, assets and moveable equipment, part or whole, which are defined in law as waste.

2.4    This policy is to be used and read in conjunction with other NHS Fife policies, in particular, integrated with the Infection Prevention and Control Policy, the Environmental Management Policy and the Corporate Health and Safety Policy.


3.1    The Chief Executive and management teams are responsible for:

Ensuring that operational procedures, health and safety and risk management arrangements are in place to meet legal and policy requirements.

•    Providing resources for implementing and maintaining legal and policy requirements.
•    Reviewing the performance and effectiveness of this policy and related procedures and guidance.
•    Effective communication of this policy through the appropriate management structures.

3.2    The Waste Management Officer (WMO) is responsible for:

•    Ensuring that the Chief Executive and management teams are aware of their responsibilities and duties as well as the relevant procedures necessary to implement this policy.
•    Providing guidance that practical and workable procedures are in place to deal with all waste streams, which include measures to minimise waste at source.
•    Ensuring that staff have the necessary equipment to ensure that wastes are segregated and packaged appropriately.
•    Providing guidance to ensure all staff receive local training, and that role-specific training is provided to staff with day-to-day responsibilities for the segregation, transfer and management of wastes.
•    Reviewing secure storage, uplift, recycling and disposal arrangements.
•    Providing performance reports to site management and collating and completion of data returns with respect to waste on behalf of NHS Fife.
•    Regularly reviewing the effectiveness of this policy across NHS Fife.
•    Providing guidance, in conjunction with all Facilities Managers and co-lead a Waste Management Group to provide appropriate cross-sector expertise to support, co-ordinate and review operational management and controls.
•    Having systems in place to record and report the volume and types of waste generated on site and inputs into the Waste Station.

•    Advising on the process in place by 2025, to assist in:

(a)    Reducing domestic waste by a minimum of 15%, and greater where possible, compared to a financial year 2012/13 baseline.
(b)     Reducing the food waste produced by 33% against a financial year 2015/16 baseline.
(c)     Ensuring that 70% of all its domestic waste is recycled or composted.
•    Providing guidelines and setting appropriate targets for reducing the volume of healthcare waste produced through measures including greater use of reusable items, improvements to waste segregation and increased recycling of recyclable materials. Providing guidance on Prevention, Reuse, Recover, Recycle and Disposal of Waste.

3.3       Departmental/line managers are responsible for:

•    Ensuring that all staff and workers are aware of this Policy and are familiar with the procedures applicable to their areas.
•    Putting into practice local procedures which are designed to reduce the risks associated with the segregation and recycling of materials, and the production, handling and uplift of all wastes through to their final disposal process.
•    Providing guidance to all employees to gain engagement in all waste management with communication of available information, training, instruction, supervision and support.
•    Monitoring the effectiveness of procedures and providing feedback and updates as required.
•    Ensuring that staff receive suitable and effective support following any accidents or incidents relating to waste management activities.

3.4    All staff and workers engaged in healthcare and in waste management are responsible for:
•    Taking precautions and reasonable care with regard to their own safety, that of any other persons who may be affected by their actions and the environment.
•    Following procedures and safe systems of work that are in place to minimise risk to persons and the environment.
•    Reporting of all incidents (including near misses).
•    Attending the appropriate training and instruction, and ensuring practical skills are regularly refreshed,
•    Assisting managers with the identification of any risks arising from waste and materials management,
•    Following the segregation processes for all waste in order to reduce overall waste.


4.1    NHS Fife delivers healthcare services across a wide portfolio of settings, resulting in the production of a correspondingly broad range of wastes.

4.2    NHS Fife is responsible for managing the waste produced by its services irrespective of whether the waste is generated on a site owned or leased by the NHS Board.

4.3    NHS Fife is obliged to comply with all regulatory requirements, including, but not limited to, those related to The Health and Safety at Work etc Act1974 and The Environmental Protection Act 1990.

4.4        NHS Fife is required to assess the risks in the context of the protection of staff and workers engaged in or supporting healthcare delivery, in waste and materials management, in the protection of the public, and the local and wider environment.

4.5    In the workplace, a large variety of waste types are produced; these can be classified broadly into the following five ‘core’ waste streams:

a)    Healthcare (including clinical) waste – waste produced as a direct result of healthcare activities which may pose a risk of infection and/or is medicinally contaminated.
b)   Other (non-healthcare) special wastes – waste with hazardous characteristics produced from support (non-healthcare) activities, such as paints, batteries, and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
c)    Source-segregated recyclates – glass, paper, card, plastics, cans, and other metals suitable for recycling.
d)    Food waste – unwanted food from patients, staff, and visitors.
e)    Residual waste – the fraction of waste that remains once all special waste, recyclates and food have been removed at source. This is typically described as ‘black bag’ or ‘domestic’ or ‘general’ waste.


5.1    A risk assessment approach should be taken to identify and put in place controls to minimise harm to human and/or environmental health that may arise from waste management activities. The Waste Management Officer, Health and Safety Officers and Infection Control Team can provide additional support to local managers on the assessment of local waste management risks.

5.2    As a result of risk assessment, all locations where waste arises should have effective control measures in place to manage identified risk(s).  Waste disposal procedures should reflect local requirements. Local managers are responsible for ensuring that local procedures are updated and reflect current practices and the range of wastes produced.

5.3    There are various factors that need to be considered when conducting risk assessments on waste, including:

•    Infectious or biohazard characteristics – with reference to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and the definition of infectious (characteristic H9) in the Special Waste Regulations.
•    Other hazardous or dangerous characteristics, for example:
•    Explosive.
•    Oxidising.
•    Flammable.
•    Irritant.
•    Harmful.
•    Toxic.
•    Carcinogenic.
•    Corrosive.
•    Toxic for reproduction.
•    Mutagenic.
•    Produces toxic gas, sensitising or ecotoxic.
•    Sharp or cutting edges (broken glass, sharps, other intrusive devices, etc).
•    Radioactive substances.
•    Offensiveness (volume, time, and temperature controls).
•    Exposure pathways throughout the entire waste management chain.

Note: The risk presented should be reduced to the lowest level that is reasonably practicable

5.4    Waste management training should be developed by, or with the Waste Management Officer.

5.5    ‘Basic’ waste training will be provided to all staff, either by means of Turas, training booklet or by training sessions.

5.6    Training should be carried out at induction and updates regularly thereafter.

5.7    Specialised training may be provided by Infection Control or Health and Safety departments.

5.8    In addition to formal training, information will be posted throughout NHS Fife to provide staff with information to allow then to segregate and handle waste locally.

5.9    All staff and workers engaged in healthcare and waste management should report all incidents involving waste, including near misses. This will ensure compliance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013.

5.10    Local managers are required to monitor and review the effectiveness of local procedural arrangements, risk registers and incident analysis.

5.11    The Boards Waste Management Group meets quarterly and is chaired by either the Head of Facilities, or Waste Management Officer.

5.12    The Waste Management Officer is responsible for compiling a report, on an annual basis for submission to the Head of Facilities, summarising performance and issues that may have arisen.

6.          REFERENCES

6.1    This policy has been developed by using the Scottish Health Technical Note 3 (SHTN 03-01, Version 7, October 2023) published by Health Facilities Scotland.