25 March 2020
Handling Waste During Coronavirus
Read Time: 4 mins
How to Handle Your Waste
There’s been no shortage of disseminated information on how to cope with the coronavirus outbreak. The focus of this, quite rightly, tends to be centred on the prevention of the spreading of the virus: regularly wash your hands for twenty seconds, stop touching your face wherever possible and make sure that you cough into a tissue or your sleeve. But what appears to be less widely discussed are the steps that you should take to ensure that your office, accommodation or workplace is as clean as possible in order to cull COVID-19.
It’s been widely discussed that the primary method of spreading the coronavirus is through the transmission of droplets produced whilst coughing and sneezing. Whereas this deters the gathering of people in close proximity, the virus itself can also live on contact surfaces and waste, where it can be transferred and spread as a result. In and around the home or the workplace, these can include bathrooms, door handles and touch plates, telephones, keyboards and grab-rails.
With that in mind, here are a few tips on how you can ensure that your waste removal is as safe and as sanitary as possible, especially if coming into contact with COVID-19.
Dealing With Your Waste
As is usually the case, common-sense and caution are the way to deal with waste removal and combatting coronavirus in the home or workplace is no different. Studies suggest that once a surface has been contacted by someone with the symptoms of coronavirus, cleaning the area with disinfectant will reduce the chances of the infection being passed on and that the volume of the living virus on a surface will be reduced after a period of 72 hours.
Official advice states that in order to reduce transmission of the virus, you should double-up on the use of bin bags when disposing of cleaning clothes, aprons, washing-up gloves and any other disposable personal protective equipment (PPE).
If you’re dealing with items that have been heavily contaminated by bodily fluids, such as bedding, then further PPE such as goggles and mouth/nose masks should be employed and disposed of in the same way. These items should then be stored securely for 72 hours.
During this time, the waste should be kept away from communal areas such as bin enclosures, hallways and alleyways where it may come into contact with other individuals or children. The waste can be disposed of as with regular rubbish once the 72 hour period has elapsed or the relevant person’s infected status has been confirmed.
Other advice for reducing transmission of the virus is as follows:
Cleaning clothes and upholstery:
Use the warmest water settings and dry completely
Follow manufacturer’s instructions
Avoid shaking clothing to reduce the potential spread of droplets
Thoroughly clean and disinfect laundry baskets, bags and clothing bins
Cleaning contact surfaces:
Pay particular attention to areas contaminated by visible bodily fluids
Use disposable cloths, mop-heads and paper roll and dispose of as mentioned above
Use a household detergent and/or disinfectant
Avoid creating splashes when cleaning
Steam clean where detergents cannot be used