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COVID-19’s Effect on Waste Management

In a bid to cease the spread of the virus, more severe actions engaged are affecting the global economy and altering everyday life. Borders have been closed to restrict travel, schools are closing, businesses are sending employees home, and everyone is advised to stay indoors for the time being.

Despite the world taking these safety measures, important services and facilities need to stay open. The filling stations and public transport, grocery stores and pharmacies, hospitals and health centers and for sure, service providers such as water, electricity, gas and waste management.

Particularly, if effective waste management services are not functioning as close to “normal” as possible, it could lead to other health issues that stem from untreated waste left uncollected. To avoid conditions like this, we will show you the general guidelines on the latest official advice, how to save waste management workers from getting infected, and how to help the industry continue to be effective.

Dealing with MSW and other waste

The National Waste and Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Solid Waste Management Association of North America (SWANA) have both issued guidance on the developing subject, with SWANA also revealing that there is little evidence to suggest a higher risk to workers in the industry. Although the virus can be contracted from surfaces, it is thought to spread more via respiratory droplets and continuous human-to-human transmission is required.

As it stands, COVID-19 is not regarded as a Category A infectious substance, i.e. a substance likely to bring about “permanent disability, life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans”. This implies that most waste, apart from medical waste, can be handled as usual. However, any Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) that is thought to be infected must be treated as medical waste and disposed of correctly.

Waste from businesses or households linked with the infection should be handled as it usually would with normal flu. No unique precautions have been advised; thus, this method is enough, until the government or local health department states otherwise.

The general guidance for waste management workers and businesses

Almost all the general guidance for waste management workers and businesses follows the same guide given to the general public. When handling any waste, the general precautions that should be taken include:

  • Wearing gloves before touching any type of waste
  • Washing hands properly with warm water and soap after handling waste or containers
  • Sanitizing surfaces and other spaces used to hold waste
  • Disposing of waste fast and effectively in the right containers
  • Discarding personal protective equipment (PPE) in the right containers (only totally contaminated PPE should be classified as medical waste)

Lastly, waste management during a worldwide health crisis needs to be handled with serious precautions. Despite the fact workers are not considered to be susceptible from exposure to general waste now, this could change, and making sure your business is doing its best to curtail the outbreak by carefully and properly discarding all types of waste remains imperative.

Municipal waste management needs are likely to change as soon as possible, considering that more persons are required to stay home, and property managers will need to increase collections as more waste is produced. Businesses that stay open may also need more robust waste management services, including a higher rate of collection. Every individual must play their part to ensure the industry can match this fast-changing situation.

Give Dimension a try for your business today. We are an essential business and will be open during Covid-19, with extra measurement to protect our customers and providers.

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