Healthcare waste

Domestic clinical waste

Only healthcare waste which falls within the definition of "clinical waste" needs to be collected separately from other domestic waste. Domestic clinical waste is produced by residents within their own homes. It includes:

  • Human or animal tissue
  • Blood or other bodily fluids
  • Excretions
  • Drugs or other pharmaceutical products
  • Swabs or dressings
  • Syringes, needles or other sharp instruments
  • Any other healthcare related waste which may cause infection to a person coming into contact with it.

The best way to dispose of unwanted medicines is by taking them to your local pharmacist. Sharps boxes for containing hyperdermic needles can be obtained on prescription (using an FP10 form). Substance misusers can take full sharps boxes to one of the local pharmacies listed below. If you have other domestic clinical waste, please use the council's clinical waste collection service (see below).

If you are not sure whether you need a separate clinical waste collection service or not, please ask your healthcare service provider or contact Waste Services. Never mix clinical waste with your general refuse or recycling.

Get detailed guidance on managing your domestic healthcare waste.

Domestic clinical waste collection service

We collect clinical waste produced by residents within their own homes if requested to do so. To receive this service, first contact your healthcare provider (such as GP, nurse or health visitor). They will request that we start collecting and provide suitable containers such as yellow boxes for safely containing used syringes.

Collections will be provided every week. If your general waste is collected in ordinary sacks or dustbins (not large communal wheeled bins), your clinical waste will be collected on the same day as your refuse and recycling, but by a different vehicle.

Any clinical waste collected by this service will be disposed of safely and all records are treated confidentially. Clinical waste must be collected separately and not mixed with other waste placed out for collection by the council or other contractors.

Needle exchange pharmacies/centres (for substance misuse clients only) 

The following pharmacies are known to accept used needles from substance misuse clients:


Barkers Chemist, 49 Falcon Road, SW11 2PH (Tel: 020 7228 1701)

Healthchem Ltd, 166-168 Battersea Bridge Road, SW11 3AW

St John's Fixed Site Needle Exchange, St John's Therapy Centre, 162 St John's Hill, SW11 1SW

Clapham Junction

Boots*, 10 Falcon Lane, SW11 2LG (Tel: 020 7978 5960)


Co-op Chemist, 3 Danebury Avenue, SW15 4DF (Tel: 020 8788 3150)


Aura Pharmacy, 78 Inner Park Road, SW19 6DA (Tel: 020 8788 6531)


Markrise Pharmacy, Mitcham Lane, SW16 6LY (Tel: 020 8769 0446)


Tooting Pharmacy, 175 Upper Tooting Road, SW17 7TJ (Tel: 020 8672 5843)


Barkers Chemist*, 245 Garratt Lane, SW18 4DU (Tel: 020 8874 1495)

East Pharmacy, 53  East Hill, SW18 2QE  (Tel: 020 8874 1636)

*Only accepts containers of less than 1 litre capacity.

Example: incontinence pads

Incontinence pads are classed as clinical waste only if the resident producing it from his or her home is suffering from an infectious disease. Non-infectious incontinence pads are domestic offensive waste and should be wrapped thoroughly before being put in the dustbin.

Infectious incontinence pads, as they are clinical waste, must be stored and collected separately from other waste. If the waste was produced during the course of professional home treatment it is the responsibility of the service provider to make suitable arrangements for its collection and disposal, not the resident. If they were produced at home but not during the course of professional home treatment you will need to use the council's clinical waste collection service. 

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