maintenance and storage can be classified as follows


sealed sources;

spent radionuclide generators;

low-level solid waste (e.g. absorbent paper, swabs, glassware, syringes, vials);

residues from shipments of radioactive material and unwanted solutions of radionuclides intended for

diagnostic or therapeutic use;

liquid immiscible with water, such as liquid scintillation counting;

residues used in radioimmunoassay, and contaminated pump oil;

waste from spills and from decontamination of radioactive spills;

excreta from patients treated or tested with unsealed radionuclides;

low-level liquid waste (e.g. from washing apparatus);

gases and exhausts from stores and fume cupboards.



on-hazardous general waste

Non-hazardous or general waste is waste that has not been in contact with infectious agents, hazardous chemicals

or radioactive substances and does not pose a sharps hazard. A significant proportion (about 85%) of all waste

from health-care facilities is non-hazardous waste and is usually similar in characteristics to municipal solid waste.

More than half of all non-hazardous waste from hospitals is paper, cardboard and plastics, while the rest comprises

discarded food, metal, glass, textiles, plastics and wood.

In many places, community or regulatory requirements encourage materials recycling. In the past, all or most non-

hazardous and municipal waste was discarded in dumps or landfills or burnt in municipal incinerators. Greater

awareness of the environmental impacts of waste and the recognition that most of the non-hazardous waste from

health-care facilities is potentially recyclable or compostable have changed the approaches to managing general


Box 2.2 lists examples of common recyclable materials found in health-care facilities.

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