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As you may now well be aware, there have been recent announcements of businesses slowly reopening as the lockdown begins to ease. Bywaters have been following this news, alongside government and DEFRA advice closely to ensure that our business, our staff and our clients, are prepared for the coming weeks as restrictions are slowly lifted.
A primary concern of easing the lockdown is minimising the spread of COVID-19 when reopening public and private spaces, and with this in mind; businesses will likely be distributing or requiring the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all staff undertaking daily duties. This additional disposable material poses further waste management concerns for its safe and compliant disposal methodology.
If you are a business in the process of easing your lockdown measures or simply preparing safety procedures ahead of time, Bywaters have collated DEFRA advice, as well as additional compliance and safety disposal measures, to effectively control cross-contamination from disposable PPE:
DEFRA waste disposal advice
In light of recent concerns of managing possibly contaminated materials safely, DEFRA has released the following:
“Waste from possible cases and cleaning of areas where possible cases have been (including disposable cloths, tissues) should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full.
The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied. It should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage until the individual’s test results are known.
Waste should NOT be left unsupervised awaiting collection. You should NOT put your waste in communal waste areas until negative test results are known or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours.
If the individual test is negative, this can be put in with the normal waste. If the individual tests positive, then store it for at least 72 hours and put in with the normal waste.
If storage for at least 72 hours is not appropriate, arrange for collection as a Category B infectious waste either by your local waste collection authority if they currently collect your waste or otherwise by a specialist clinical waste contractor.”
Bywaters’ Safety Measures: PPE Disposal
We are aware that many businesses are mandating the use of PPE as an effective way to return to work whilst incorporating additional safety measures. We are also aware that many businesses will not have direct access to testing as the lockdown lifts, and therefore the testing of staff to determine infection may not always be possible. Furthermore, the 72 hour waiting period to determine the waste as suitable for “normal disposal” may not be practical with minimal space and urgent waste management needs.
To minimise disruption, and effectively target the most contaminated materials, Bywaters have recently launched our COVID-19 PPE disposal service. Our new disposal measures take additional mitigation precautions on site, whilst also providing a safer disposal methodology than that prescribed by DEFRA.
Our new PPE disposal guidance recommends the onsite segregation of PPE materials as a new waste stream, to be contained in separate waste containers onsite. The segregated materials will then be bagged in orange bags (provided by Bywaters), and secured using the swan neck procedure for securing waste bags, as recommended by both the WHO (World Health Organisation) and PHE (Public Health England).
Once contained, segregated PPE materials shall be collected by Bywaters’ authorised suppliers and taken to an autoclave facility where materials are shredded, disinfected (rendering the waste safe from contamination), and then disposed of.
This new methodology for treating and disposing of materials is currently being utilised across the NHS as a safe way to manage and dispose of possibly contaminated materials. It is therefore ideal for customers who wish to take additional safety precautions and for those who require urgent waste collections.
As always, Bywaters will be on hand to provide any additional advice regarding waste disposal during this uncertain time. We wish to thank our customers for continuing to place trust in our services during this particularly difficult period.
If you have any further questions or would like more information regarding our PPE disposal guidance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org