How to Manage Biologic wastes in your Dental Clinic ?

How To Dispose Hazardous Wastes in Your Dental Clinic ?

  • The phrase “hazardous waste” is often misunderstood. Many people would assume that hazardous waste relates to chemical waste and toxic waste.
  • This of course is true, but what many businesses do not realise is that many day to day items such as aerosols, paints, computer monitors, fluorescent tubes, fridges and certain cleaning products, are also classed as hazardous waste.
  • At some point the majority of businesses will therefore produce some form of hazardous waste, which will need to be disposed of in the correct manner.

In the same way dentistry also produces a lot of bio-waste materials and material waste that are needed to be disposed correctly. This is essential for the safety of the dentist as well as the surrounding. Improper disposal of the waste will lead to spread of infection. 

Also there are government regulations to assess the ” safety factor ” in clinic. There are rules in every country related to that. So you need too make sure that the safety disposal standards for your clinic should comply with the official government regulations of your clinic. 


Though dental clinics are mostly using composite material, but there are still a few clinics where the use of amalgam is still persistent. 

  1. Amalgam can contribute to many waste streams in the dental clinic. Amalgam particles are a major source of mercury in the sewer system. Wastewater from dental chairs where amalgam is placed into or removed from a patient’s mouth is considered hazardous waste.
  2. Mercury-containing wastewater which has been pretreated at the dental clinic with an approved amalgam separator may be managed as universal waste and transported to any POTW or hazardous waste facility that has agreed to accept the wastewater.
  3. Any mercury-contaminated wastes from preparing, mixing, and administering amalgam, as well as used and unused amalgam capsules contaminated with mercury must be properly managed by being recycled or managed as a hazardous waste.
  4. All the amalgam wastes should be sealed in a proper tight closed casing , clearly marked and finally should be submitted to the waste disposal unit.
  5. We can also reduce amalgam waste by substituting amalgam in the clinical practice with non amalgam restorative materials like composites.

The following picture shows the ideal way to manage amalgam waste

X-Ray Waste

  1. Developer
    Used developer can be disposed of down a drain that is connected to a POTW; however, you must notify the POTW. If your facility is not connected to a POTW, you must ship the used developer from your site for disposal.
  2. Used X-ray Fixer
    Waste containing silver in concentrations above 5 ppm are considered hazardous waste. Recycling companies will reclaim silver from used fixer. Do not mix fixer and developer because doing so will increase the overall volume of hazardous waste. Installing a silver recovery unit at the end of the x-ray processing unit is an option for disposing of used x-ray fixer.
  3. X-ray Film
    Silver can be reclaimed from x-ray film. Film with large dark areas contain more silver than film with smaller dark areas. Reclamation companies that accept used fixer will often take x-ray film.

Disinfectants and Cold Sterilants

Formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, or other disinfectants are considered hazardous waste in concentrated form.

Fluorescent lamps
Used fluorescent lamps in some cases must be  recycled. They can be managed as universal waste.

Lead Foil and Lead Shielding

Vapor Sterilizer Chemicals

Highly Infectious Bio-Logical Waste

The most crucial part of infection control is the management of Biological Waste and instruments in contact with biological fluids. Bio logical fluids has the maximum potential of spreading infections. They can also act as a medium for the growth of microorganisms that can further enhance the cross infection. The 3 main Biological/Fluid related wastes to take care of are

Blood and body fluids


Scalpels, needles, and other sharp objects that can puncture the skin.


All hazardous wastes accumulated in dental clinics must be stored in closed, properly labeled containers, and shipped from the dental clinic for disposal at an approved facility.

Here is a good presentation on – How to Manage the Dental Clinic Wastes in your set up.


Waste Management in Dental Clinics : 30 Slides Want to Use the PPT for ProjectYou…