Thursday, November 26, 2015

Biomedical waste: Waste Categories, treatment options and color coding mnemonic

PLEASE NOTE: This post was written in 2015, the categories have been updated since then :(
I have not deleted this post because some still find it helpful :)
We will edit it soon!

Greetings, people.

This waste disposal system is used in India. Since it's all complex and plain memorization, why not make a mnemonic? :D

For those who don't know the categories and stuff in detail, I'll copy paste them at the end of the post for reference. I'll be sharing the mnemonic first.

Let's begin! ^__^

How to remember Waste Categories:

1-3: HAM (Human, Animal, Microbiology)
4-7: Sharp medico, bloody solid (Sharps, Medicines, Blood stained or Soiled, Solid)
8-10: LAC (Liquid, Ash, Chemicals)

How to remember colour coding of waste category:

Random mnemonic: Yellow has 6 letters. 1 x 2 x 3 = 6
So these categories go into the yellow bag.

Draw this table step by step. Write everything one below the other. You'll get it when we are done!

Step 1: Write the names of the colours in this order -
Mnemonic: You Record Warner Bros.

Step 2: Write 1-5 in this sequence -
1 2

Step 3: Write 6 - 10 (excluding the Liquid-y stuff, that is, Category 8)
6 7
9 10

Step 4: Write treatment options
(Remember the acronyms, somehow. Identity, Armed medical college, DSL internet? :/)

And you are done! :D

Colour Coding  - Waste Category - Treatment Options:

Yellow - 1,2,3,6 - Incineration / Deep burial
Red - 3,6,7 - Autoclaving / Micro waving / Chemical Treatment
Blue/ White translucent - 4,7 - Autoclaving / Micro waving / Chemical Treatment and Destruction / Shredding
Black - 5,9,10 (Solid) - Disposal in Secured Landfill

That's all!

All the best for your exams!


Categories of Bio-medical waste in detail: 
Category No. 1
Human Anatomical Waste
(human tissues, organs, body parts)

Category No. 2
Animal Waste
(animal tissues, organs, body parts carcasses, bleeding parts, fluid, blood and experimental animals used in research, waste generated by veterinary hospitals, colleges, discharge from hospitals, animal houses)

Category No. 3
Microbiology & Biotechnology Waste
(Wastes from laboratory cultures, stocks or micro-organisms live or vaccines, human and animal cell culture used in research and infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories, wastes from production of biologicals, toxins, dishes and devices used for transfer of cultures)

Category No. 4
Waste Sharps
(needles, syringes, scalpels, blade, glass, etc. that may cause punture and cuts. This includes both used and unused sharps)

Category No. 5
Discarded Medicines and Cytotoxic drugs
(Waste comprising of outdated, contaminated and discarded medicines)

Category No. 6
Soiled Waste
(items contaminated with blood, and body fluids including cotton, dressings, soiled plaster casts, lines, bedding, other material contaminated with blood)

Category No. 7
Solid Waste
(Waste generated from disposal items other than the sharps such a tubings, catheters, intravenous sets etc.)

Category No. 8
Liquid Waste
(Waste generated from laboratory and washing, cleaning, housekeeping and disinfecting activities)

Category No. 9
Incineration Ash
(Ash from incineration of any bio-medical waste)

Category No. 10
Chemical Waste
(Chemicals used in production of biologicals, chemicals used in production of biologicals, chemicals used in  disinfection, as insectricides, etc.)


  1. Thank a lot! Excellent way to remember!

  2. You r always best....all d best fr ur future..������☺

  3. The categories have been updated in 2017. There are just four colours now. But still, a useful post :)

  4. That was great. In Australia, there is called schedule drugs to help understand how to properly dispose those. Check it our here.


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