Many people believe that color coding of biomedical waste is to make things easier to understand. While that is true, it also represents the fact that all waste shouldn’t go into the same container. Various types of waste need to be handled differently. Hazardous medical waste needs to be separated so that it can be processed safely. Most medical waste is incinerated, making sure they don’t end up in landfills, but there are even more modern and albeit better ways of handling biomedical waste onsite. Integrated sterilizers, waste shredders and autoclaves are some of the solutions being used today. Any company responsible for creating biomedical waste needs to clearly label their bins using color coding, ensuring that the items are disposed of correctly by their personnel.

Understanding Biomedical Waste Management Color Coding

You will need to be familiar with the various types of biomedical waste to understand the color codes. However, depending on the sources you check, there might be variations in the categorization though basically, they can be considered biomedical waste.

Infectious waste

Tools that come into contact with the body’s fluids like plaster casts, cotton swabs and bandages etc., are a part of this category of biomedical waste.


Sharp waste

Usually, this will include anything sharp or has a sharp edge that can cut or puncture. The items included are scalpels, needles and blades. These are often categorized as hazardous medical waste.


Contaminated yet recyclable waste

The waste in this category will include disposable medical equipment like intravenous tubes, bottles, syringes, gloves and catheters etc.


Medical, chemical waste

Usually, any chemicals that are used in the production of disinfectants fall into this category. It will include lab liquids, and Formalin etc.


Pathological waste

Usually, this is waste that comes out of the human body, i.e. organs, tissues, and other body parts.


Expired medical waste or drug waste

It is referred to as pharmaceutical waste, consisting of antibiotics and other cytotoxic drugs.


Laboratory waste

The waste category will include bags, microorganisms, toxins, and vaccines often used as part of lab research.

The Extra Benefits of Color Coding Biomedical Waste

Color coding waste is essentially a form of easy segregation. Using this form of segregation helps to:

  • Reduce the amount of biomedical waste which has to be treated in a specific way.
  • Offer more opportunities to recycle the medical waste after sterilization.
  • Prevent sharp objects from reuse or other illegal purposes.
However, in addition to protecting the environment color coding biomedical waste ensures that labs and hospitals don’t get into trouble for improper waste management. It also helps prevent workplace hazards. Furthermore, the correct handling of this waste helps to improve the image of your business.

Color Coding is The First Step to Safe Disposal

Trust us when we tell you that color coding is only the first step to proper medical waste disposal. However, it is an important step that every member of your staff should be trained to understand and dispose of materials accordingly.