Where did all the yellow sacks go?

Some people will remember the appearance of yellow clinical waste sacks in litter bins on railway stations across central and eastern Scotland some years ago. Purchased by “mistake” – no doubt the mistake was that there was a cheap deal too good to miss – this created problems all over the country. It took months to correct the error, and for many months after that the odd yellow sack turned up from the back of the station store cupboard.

The problem has now recurred, this time in the north west of England.

Waiting for a train back to London, I was amazed to see a clinical waste sack mounted on a trolley used for general litter picking. A quick look around and several waste paper bins were similarly provided with yellow clinical waste sacks, that could be spotted from the train as we passed through several of the nearby stations.

Sorry about the quality of the photo, it was taken with a mobile phone.

The 2006 change from predominantly yellow to predominantly orange sacks for clinical waste was of doubtful value and was discussed widely at that time – check out the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum archives. It must have resulted in manufacturers and supplies holding vast stocks of yellow sacks that move slowly if at all. Inevitably, the temptation must be to see them off at reduced cost, defeating the value of colour coding of bagged wastes and causing problems as these wastes pass along the disposal chain.

Where did all the yellow sacks go? And why always the railways?

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