When is clinical waste not clinical waste? The answer, it seems, depends on what the Local Authority want in order to bolster their argument. Perhaps this is a position that they leaned from the Environment Agency, who too often change their tune to suit their purpose.
Barrow has declared war on fly-tippers with council bosses today launching a “crusade” to catch those responsible for the mountains of rubbish dumped over.
Towering piles of tonnes of foul-smelling bin bags, empty boxes, Christmas dinner leftovers and household waste have left recycling points and car parks across Barrow resembling landfill sites.
In what has sadly become a foul festive tradition in Furness, some impatient residents have found themselves unable to wait just two days until the tip opens or at most an extra two working days until their wheelie bins are collected.
Clearly this is far from acceptable, though my immediate thought is that if the service is provided then it should be properly managed. It is crazy to provide bins and then criticise local residents for using them.
A Council spokesperson explained that last year, council enforcement officers at one hotspot in Barrow caught 28 fly-tippers red-handed on Boxing Day alone. Some of the discarded bags even included clinical waste such as colostomy bags and feeding tubes.
Really? Colostomy bags could be emptied but empty or not would be placed into a black sack alongside nappies etc. Likewise feeding tubes, which are not clinical wastes.
Too often regulators seek to gain support by claiming clinical wastes are present when clearly these are not, and thus claim the regulatory high ground and news coverage highlighting their own importance.
Nonsense. Any domestic waste might contain, without risk and without breach of any regulation, small quantities of clinical wastes. Moreover, the BandAids, bandages, colostomy bags etc that might be present are perfectly acceptable, legal and safe, though common sense would suggest that colostomy bags should first be wrapped in newspaper.
It is strange is it not that Local Authorities, without a word of challenge from the Environment Agency, can abandon collections of domiciliary clinical wastes on the grounds of cost. Requiring instead that householders wrap their wastes in paper and place it with of other general refuse into a black sack, they cannot then run to the press shouting about fly tipping of a colostomy bag and define that as clinical waste that requires some special precautions and separate collection.