Department of Health

Key messages

  • Waste and recycling signage assists health services to separate and minimise waste.

Hospitals and their staff are responsible for the correct management and waste. Providing clear and effective signage, either on or above all waste bins, helps to:

  • minimise risk of injury or infection to staff
  • ensure compliance with EPA and WorkSafe regulations
  • reduce waste management costs
  • increase resource recovery
  • reduce damage to the environment

Sorting waste correctly can be confusing, especially when staff have to decide whether an item is clinical waste, general waste or recyclable.

It is recommended that staff receive waste management training as part of the on-boarding process to that all staff are aware of how to segregate waste correctly.

DHHS has developed a range of resource to support health services delivering waste management training and education and improve waste behaviours. Signage is an important reminder, or nudge, to help with these behaviours.

Signage for individual waste streams is available to download below. A sign has been developed for most waste streams and in some cases signs specific to hospital departments.

If a sign for a waste stream provided by your health service is not available, please contact the DHHS sustainability team to discuss.

Australian Standards 4123.7External Link and 3816:2018External Link provide guidance on colour requirements for waste bins. It is important that, where possible these standards are adhered to.

The signage produced by DHHS meets all standards excluding the requirement of yellow lids for commingled recycling bins. This is because yellow bins in health care settings are recognised as clinical waste bins. Burgandy is therefore suggested as the colour representing commingled recycling in healthcare settings.

The department has also developed a ‘Waste decision tree’ poster to help staff identify the waste stream individual items should be placed in.

Reviewed 10 November 2023


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