Background: An inadequate management of hospital waste, that have toxic, infectious and chemical wastes, is a risk factor for humans and environment. Aim: To identify, quantify and assess the risk associated to the management of hospital residues. Material and methods: A cross sectional assessment of the generation of hazardous waste from a hospital, between June and August 2005, was performed. The environmental risk associated to the management of non-radioactive hospital waste was assessed and the main problems related to solid waste were identified. Results: The rate of generation of hazardous non-radioactive waste was 1.35 tons per months or 0.7 kg/bed/day. Twenty five percent of hazardous liquid waste were drained directly to the sewage system. The drug preparation unit of the pharmacy had the higher environmental risk associated to the generation of hazardous waste. The internal transport of hazardous waste had a high risk due to the lack of trip planning. The lack of training of personnel dealing with these waste was another risk factor. Conclusions: Considering that an adequate management of hospital waste should minimize risks for patients, the hospital that was evaluated lacks an integral management system for its waste.