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Use of color coding in dental waste management

Use of color coding in dental waste management

Color coding is the use of colors to mark different things as a means of identification and giving them a specific meaning .its used in hospitals mostly in identifying different types of containers used for waste disposal and can also be used in a dental clinic for efficient waste management.

A dental clinic can be compared to any operating hospital in terms of waste production ,the waste which usually arises from dental procedures, which are the main activities of a dental clinic and the waste is inevitable. The waste from the dental clinics comprises 85% of waste that is not hazardous, and the remaining 15 % can be hazardous. Meaning it can cause or spread infections to other people in case they get exposed to it. So, handling this waste should be proper to ensure that infections are not spread to other people. And one of the most appropriate method of handling the waste is by use of color-coded containers.

What are the benefits of color-coding in dental waste management?

Color coding plays a massive role in reducing the quantity of dental waste which needs handling special treatment.

It helps prevent the re-use of sharps or some other kind of wastes for illegal purposes.

It gives a chance for the recycling of medical waste after rigorous sterilization.

The use of color-coding can be eco-friendly since it reduces the chances that the dental waste will be disposed of, let’s say to a river, which is harmful to the environment.

World health organization classification of hospital waste disposal

WHO classifies hospital waste into nine types depending on the waste, which should be segregated and to help in disposing of waste by either recycling or disposing. But the

The most important thing to note is to make sure that both the staff and the patients dispose off the waste into the required containers. The use of color-coding becomes essential since it makes it easy to determine where precisely the waste should be disposed of.

Here are the nine classifications of waste disposal.

(a)sharps-this are the sharp items that can lead to pricking or cutting. They mainly comprise waste needles, used scalpels and can also include BP blades.

(b)radioactive waste-this are not primarily found in dental clinics, but they include liquid from the radiotherapy department

(c )pathological waste-this wastes comprise of human tissues or fluids excreted by the human body, body parts which include extracted tooth or body part which has been amputated

(d) General waste-this is a type of waste that is harmless to human health. It can include dust from the dental clinic or hospital after total or paper waste from the offices at the hospital.

(e ) Infectious waste-this are waste substances that can transmit viral, parasitic, or bacterial infections to individuals who contact them. The waste is likely to contain pathogens, and it includes used cotton swabs, bandages, or used gauze.

(f)chemical waste-this is waste that arises from the chemicals used in dental treatment, .for example, the x-ray films used for the images.

(g) Pharmaceutical waste-this waste mostly comprises drugs that are expired and are of no use to humans. This poses a lot of danger since they can be poisonous if consumed.

(h)Genotoxic waste-this type of waste is not usually found in a dental clinic, but it’s a type of waste that comprises cytotoxic drugs used to treat cancer.

(i)pressurized containers-this these are cans or cylinders which are used to carry pressurized contents. In a hospital setting, they can include gas cylinders, cans, and aerosols.

Color coding for dental waste management

(a)yellow plastic bag in a bucket

It is used in the collection of wastes that are infectious and pathological waste which includes.

Dressing materials and cotton swabs which are used in a dental clinic for different purposes like cleaning blood from a prick,

Human or any anatomical waste removed from an individual like an extracted tooth or excised gingiva

This type of waste can be disposed of in many different ways, including incineration or deep burial to lower the chances of infection transfer it other people.

(b)White translucent

These containers are usually leak, puncture and tamper-proof.

They are used to dispose of sharp wastes, including needles used in dental clinics and scalpels used for dental procedures.

They are also used for the disposal of syringes with fixed needles.

(c )blue container

They can be made of cardboard or boxes made of plastic and should always be leakproof.

They are used to dispose of glassware waste, which includes the glass bottles used in the packaging of medicines used in the dental clinic.

This type of waste is not usually as hazardous as the sharps, and autoclaving can be enough to make the waste sterile in preparation for its safe disposal.

(d)Red container

This container can be used in the disposal of waste that is recyclable. This can include water bottles or containers used in the packaging of normal saline.

How dental waste can be managed appropriately

The waste segregation should be done in the right way by a sanitization official or a medic.

After waste collection, the dental clinic should then be transported for disposal.

It is not advisable to keep the waste in the area of collection for more than six hours.

How to properly transport dental waste

Transportation of dental waste should be done carefully to ensure that the waste is not disposed of in an inappropriate area, leading to infection transfer to other people.

Here are the protocols on how it should be done.

Don’t use the same corridor for the transportation of the waste as the one that patients use.

The dental waste collection should be regularly inspected to ensure that there is no leakage whatsoever.

Non-hazardous waste can be deposited in a municipal waste dump.

Find a regulatory solution provider

Dental practices should more often focus on providing more quality services in a safe environment. This can be adhered to by ensuring that the waste disposal system is effective and follows all the guidelines in the disposal. Color coding plays a massive role in making sure wastes are appropriately categorized, making waste collection management and disposal easier.

That s why DNRA, which is a complete regulator solution provider, can be of great help. DNRA helps practices and dental clinics comply with all regulations for proper waste disposal, recycling and helps in the removal of hazardous waste from their facilities.