Our most recent blog takes a look at the medical waste generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what we should be doing to dispose of it responsibly.
We have been in 'this' together for the last 18 months and by now most of us - when we hear the words Coronavirus or COVID-19 - want to run screaming in the other direction. Unfortunately COVID-19 news fatigue has left us desensitised and complacent. The rigorous decontamination rituals practised during the early days of Lockdown Level 5 have been replaced by reluctant masking. The way we dispose of our COVID-19 waste has also become an afterthought.
How to dispose of COVID-19 waste
When disposing of COVID-19 contaminated waste (which could include tissues, masks, gloves, overalls, and other PPE) or indeed any waste that is potentially contaminated with COVID-19, there are 3 questions that you need to ask yourself:
- How do I ensure that cross-contamination risk is minimised in my environment?
- How do I ensure that the contaminated waste is disposed of safely so as not to affect people outside my immediate environment? For example, waste pickers.
- How do I ensure that this waste does not end up polluting our oceans?
Here are a few simple steps to help you dispose of COVID-19 waste (and high-risk Coronavirus items like PPE) safely:
- Flush snotty tissues down the toilet rather than putting them down on the table next to you or throwing them in a waste bin.
- When disposing of infected PPE ensure that you are doing so in a designated receptacle such as an Initial PPE disposal solution that is safely removed by trained experts wearing the appropriate PPE. A reputable disposal company will also ensure proper procedures are followed so that this waste is treated and disposed of in a designated landfill.
- You might be wondering about what you should do at home when you are in isolation.
We recommend that you use one garbage bag to dispose of all COVID-infected waste. When the bag is full, tie it closed with a knot and place it in another garbage bag that is also tied with a knot.
Place this bag in an area away from people and animals for 5 days before disposing of it through municipal services. As an additional precaution, mark the bag clearly as "COVID-19 waste - do not open".
- After disposal, it is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.