Waste disposal regulations can seem complicated enough, without the added worry of COVID-19. Unfortunately, if your business does encounter symptoms of the virus, then you will have to deal with your waste a little differently. But don’t worry, we’re here to help with this straightforward guide.

How Should You Treat Waste That Has Encountered Someone with COVID-19 Symptoms?

The following guidance comes from the government and applies to waste in non-healthcare settings from individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and waste from cleaning areas where they have been:

  • Insert in a plastic rubbish bag and tie when full
  • Place this plastic bag in a second bin bag and tie this one too
  • Store in a suitable and secure place until the individual’s test results return

You must make sure that this waste is always stored safely and away from children – NOT in communal waste areas – until negative test results are known, or until the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.

What Waste Should You Include in These Precautions?

Any waste that has come into contact with the person displaying symptoms – this may include PPE, disposable cloths and used tissues.

What to Do After a Negative or Positive COVID-19 Result

If the individual tests negative, then panic over! The waste can be disposed of immediately with your normal waste service.

However, if COVID-19 is confirmed then this waste should be stored SAFELY for at least 72 hours before disposal with normal waste.

What if You Need to Remove Waste Before 72 hours?

If, during an emergency, you need to remove the waste before the advised timeframe, then it must be treated as Category B infectious waste. This means you need to keep it separate from all other waste and arrange for collection by a specialist contractor for hazardous waste.

Who Should You Get to Collect Your Waste?

You must ensure that your business is using a licensed waste carrier for ANY waste. Failure to use a professional and accredited service could result in prosecution, so make sure you’re always supplied with waste transfer notes to prove your legal compliance.

As mentioned above, you’ll need a specialist contractor for Category B waste (someone who is certified to provide a hazardous waste service).

At Direct365, we’re devoted to saving UK businesses time and money by comparing hundreds of reliable suppliers nationwide. Our waste disposal services include both general and hazardous waste (as well as many more classifications), so you only need one contract for multiple waste types. Check out our Waste Management hub for the most convenient and comprehensive services around.

For more detailed information on COVID-19 precautions, check out our Public Health England resource here.

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