Hazardous Waste

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Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is any waste that contains organic or inorganic elements or compounds that may, owing to the inherent physical, chemical or toxicological characteristics of that waste, have a detrimental impact on health and the environment and includes hazardous substances, materials or objects within the business waste, residue deposits and residue stockpiles.

  • Gaseous waste
  • Mercury containing waste (liquid and solid)
  • Batteries
  • POP Waste
  • Inorganic waste
  • Asbestos containing waste
  • Waste Oils
  • Organic halogenated and/or sulphur containing solvents/waste
  • Organic solvents/waste without halogens and sulphur
  • Tarry and Bituminous waste
  • Brine
  • Fly ash and dust from miscellaneous filter sources
  • Bottom ash
  • Slag
  • Mineral waste
  • e-Waste
  • Health Care Risk Waste
  • Sewage sludge

The Department of Environmental Affairs is finalising a Hazardous Waste Roadmap that deals with the import, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, including health care waste.

For a detailed list of general and hazardous waste types and definitions refer to:

The following documents regulate hazardous waste. See also Landfill Sites section.

Download the guideline Waste Management Licenses for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to hazardous waste.


Electrical and electronic waste (e-Waste), classified as hazardous waste, includes:

  • Small/large household appliances
  • Office, information and communication equipment
  • Mobile phones
  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent lamps/tubes
  • Consumer and entertainment electronics and toys
  • Leisure, sports and recreational equipment
  • Automatic issuing equipment
  • Electric and electronic tools
  • Security & health care equipment

E-Waste has been declared a priority waste and the Minister of Environmental Affairs has requested the development of an industry waste management plan. (Refer to Industry Waste Management Plans section) Refer to the Recycling section for information on e-waste recycling.

Levels of end-of-life (EoL) electronics, or e-waste, have been increasing and are expected to continue on this path. E-waste contains materials that are considered toxic, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which have led to increased environmental concern about improper disposal of these products. There are valuable materials in e-waste and recovery of these materials can alleviate mining of virgin materials. [Source: Draft e-WASA Industry Waste Management Plan]

The Keynote Address: DEA Minister: Government Sector National e-Waste Conference September 2015, provides an overview of the current situation in South Africa.

Refer to other sources of information:

Health Care Waste

The Department of Health is mandated to address health care waste issues and advise the Department of Environmental Affairs and provincial departments on the appropriate standards and measures for the sector.

The National Health Act: Regulations: Health care waste management in health establishments are applicable to all private and public health establishments that provide inpatient or outpatient treatment, diagnostic or therapeutic interventions, nursing, rehabilitative, palliative, convalescent, preventative or other health services. Facilities include hospitals, clinics (mobile and stationary), rehabilitation centres, frail care centres, free-standing operating theatres, day units, hospices, and doctor’s consulting rooms. The regulations cover the handling, storage, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of health care waste.

Health care waste is the total waste stream from health care facilities and includes both health care general waste and health care risk waste

Health Care General Waste (HCGW) contains no products or potential properties known to have a harmful effect on humans or the environment. It is generated during the administrative and housekeeping operations of a health care facility including food preparation, cleaning, maintenance, office services, etc.

Health Care Risk Waste (HCRW) is hazardous waste generated at health care facilities that is capable of producing infection, disease, toxic effects, skin and eye irritations, cuts, punctures and damage to the central nervous system.   (Refer to Health Care Risk Waste section)

Health Care Risk Waste

Health care risk waste (HCRW) is hazardous waste capable of producing any disease, and includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Chemical waste: discarded solid, liquid and gaseous chemicals from diagnostic, experimental, cleaning, housekeeping and disinfecting procedures.
  • Cytotoxic/genotoxic waste: drugs used to stop/reduce growth of certain living cells used in chemotherapy
  • Infectious waste: largest component of HCRW and consists of discarded materials, utensils or equipment arising from the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, including dressings, soiled nappies, swabs, etc.
  • Isolation waste: discarded materials contaminated with excretions or secretions from humans or animals in isolation to protect others from highly communicable or zoonotic diseases
  • Laboratory waste: human or animal specimen cultures, research cultures, and microbiological specimens sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Pathological (anatomical) waste: body parts, organs, body tissue.
  • Pharmaceutical waste: expired, unused, spilled and contaminated products, drugs and vaccines
  • Radioactive waste: emanating from radiology departments, CT scanners, nuclear medicine services. laboratories
  • Sharps waste: syringe needles, scalpels, infusion sets, knives, blades
  • Pressure cans: – type of substance contained in gas cylinders, cartridges and aerosol cans containing hazardous substances
  • Waste with a high content of heavy metals: mercury in diagnostic devices such as thermometers, blood pressure meters.

For a detailed list of hazardous waste types and definitions

Also refer to:

The following South African National Standards (SANS) on health care waste are available for purchase from the SABS Store




SANS 10248


Management of healthcare waste

SANS 10248

Part 1: 2008

Management of healthcare risk waste from a healthcare facility;

SANS 10248

Part 2:2009

Management of healthcare risk waste for healthcare facilities and healthcare providers in rural and remote settings;

SANS 10248

Part 3: 2011

 Management of healthcare risk waste from minor generators, registered healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals.

As HCRW is classified as hazardous waste the following documents apply:

Also refer to Landfill Sites.

Download the guideline LICENSING OF WASTE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES for information on Waste Management Licenses, Authorisations, Registrations, Accreditations and Permits related to hazardous waste (including health care risk waste).


PLASTICS incl Roadmap to 2025

Contact us

Sanki Tshabangu: info@iwmsa.co.za
Nicolle de Bruyn: iwmsa@iwmsa.co.za
Ann Oosthuizen: ann@iwmsa.co.za

Tel: 011 675 3462

Postal Address: PO Box 31061 |Totiusdal | 0134