A quality approach

Cromwell Polythene Managing Director, James Lee, shares best practice to ensure effective washroom hygiene and infection control.

There are many aspects to washroom hygiene – with clean facilities and hand washing of particular importance. This is critical in the healthcare sector where infection control is vital. The washroom must also be pleasant for its users, with fragrance a significant influence.

For washroom hygiene bins, some cleaning teams still use non-scented liners, in combination with extra products such as sachets or gels. However, these additions increase the workload, cost and time spent servicing bins.

Our Sansafe range incorporates Biomaster silver antimicrobial technology, which is added during the film extrusion process. Silver ion-based antimicrobials help to protect against harmful bacteria, including E. coli and Legionella. This saves time, money and resources, as the bacteria which causes unpleasant smells is unable to grow in contact with the liners, eliminating the need for separate intoxicating fragrances, and anti-microbial/bacterial products. Our liners are tested to ISO22196 and made from 30% recycled material.

Clinical waste sacks

Managing healthcare waste from hospitals, care homes, and health centres, as well as healthcare-type waste from non-healthcare activities, requires specialist knowledge to ensure waste is dealt with in accordance with the required storage, transport (of dangerous goods), and treatment. This is a legal requirement, and therefore necessary to demonstrate that a duty of care has been discharged through a professional service provider. It is also vitally important to health and hygiene, containing the spread of disease by cross infection.

‘Health Technical Memorandum 07-01: Safe management of healthcare waste’ provides details and guidance on the environmental benefits, opportunities for cost savings, safer working practices and reducing carbon emissions related to the management of waste.

The CIWM provides useful guidance in two publications: Managing Healthcare Type Waste from Non-Healthcare Activities and An Introductory Guide to the Management of Healthcare Wastes in England and Wales (available on this page).

The European Waste Catalogue (EWC) is a standardised way of describing waste, including hazardous waste, in documents such as data returns and consignment notes. EWC clinical waste classifications are three pairs of digits.


The last pair denotes the type of waste within each category and determines the treatment or disposal method, which may be incineration or alternative treatment, each type requiring the appropriate type (colour) of bag required for collection, storage, and transport. Compliance should be complete and demonstrable.

Orange, yellow, or yellow with black ‘tiger’ striped bags, are available in 20-80 litre capacities, with UN accreditation where appropriate. During 2019, we will also be launching a scented and antimicrobial tiger bag as part of our Sansafe range. Tiger bags are used for offensive/hygiene waste whose collection and disposal is not subject to special requirements to prevent infection (EWC codes 18 01 04). Typical examples of this include non-infectious used gloves, masks, dressings, incontinence waste, soiled nappies, sanitary towels and tampons. These materials can be turned into energy from waste (EfW).

Sustainable quality

There is no trade-off between effective products and sustainability. Responsibly produced bin liners bring value and efficiencies to the supply chain – weighing less than other non-viable alternatives like glass and metal, they are highly efficient at retaining fluids, and eliminating environmental leaching. Good quality bin liners produced using high levels of recycled polythene are widely available, even using up to 100% recycled material.

Effectiveness and safety must be to internationally- recognised standards, and clearly labelled on the packaging.

Buyers can ensure that the products they are investing in perform to a high standard by checking for minimum net box weights, which should be clearly marked on the outer carton, as well as international, independently audited quality standards. These include EN standards and ISO quality management principles.

Products accredited by independent bodies, like the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA), provide assurance of high standards. The CHSA’s Manufacturing Standard Accreditation Scheme for plastic refuse sacks requires accredited members to label their products so that the end user can buy with confidence.

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