November 19, 2020

Covid-19 and Waste Management

Covid-19 waste disposal 

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues into the winter months it is as important as ever that businesses continue to play their part in ensuring that any waste generated from a possible or a confirmed case of coronavirus is disposed of correctly to help to protect people, health and the environment.

The current Government guidance in the UK “COVID-19: Guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings” is that any waste generated from a possible or a confirmed case of coronavirus must be disposed of as Category B infectious waste and is suitable for alternative treatment (AT) disposal.
This means that any soft infectious waste produced, such as PPE (gloves, face masks, aprons) paper towels, swabs etc. should be packaged in orange clinical waste bags (UN number UN3291) and be correctly sealed and marked before being collected and taken for alternative treatment disposal. 

Sustainable solution for Covid-19 waste

Stericycle will collect correctly segregated and tagged waste from customers premises; from hospital settings, dental and veterinary practices, to beauty salons and tattoo parlours (plus many more!).  
The tagged waste is scanned and uploaded on to our central customer management system before being loaded onto our van and taken to a local Alternative Treatment site. The Stericycle Alternative Treatment (AT) process involves the heating of waste to disinfect it, as an alternative to incineration. This technology ensures the biproduct of the waste is utilised as an alternative fuel source making this a sustainable waste treatment process.

  1. On arrival at the treatment site, information such as the type of waste, weight and customer information is uploaded onto the customer management system. 

  2. Waste is inspected and any waste inappropriate for Alternative Treatment is removed.  The waste is tipped into an enclosed tipper which sends it to the shredder unit via a bin lift. 

  3. The shredded waste is then moved through a Heat Disinfection Unit (HDU) that uses hot oil to disinfect the waste. 

  4. Once cool, the shredded disinfected waste is compacted, baled and used as an alternative fuel source/solid recovered fuel (SRF).

Environmentally friendly solution to COVID-19 support

Southwest Pathology Services (SPS) are using Stericycle’s services to support their clinical waste requirements throughout the challenging pandemic.

SPS serves a population of around 500,000 people and delivers services to two Trusts and more than 100 GP practices that require specialist waste management services from collection through to disposal. SPS continue to remain mindful of environmental concerns and replaced existing plastic units with cardboard ones.

Isobel Harding, Business Support/Facilities Supervisor at SPS said: 
“Stericycle offer exactly what we look for from a clinical waste disposal company. The service given allows us to be compliant and operate according to the law. Drivers operate as scheduled and provide a prompt service. Our Account Manager is always available to offer advice or assistance when needed.”

Ensuring safety during the pandemic

The health and welfare of our customers and staff is paramount, that is why to continue operating within government guidelines while servicing our customers, our service team will:

  • Only have one driver per vehicle

  • Wear face masks and gloves before entering customers’ premises

  • Sanitise handheld devices before entering customers’ premises

  • Follow social distancing guidelines during service

  • Scan containers using handheld devices. However, a customer signature will not be required

  • Sanitise hands when returning to the vehicle

  • Wash hands and dispose of PPE on return to the Stericycle branches

At present, we will continue to service all our customers, considering the above precautions. Our regulatory and safety teams are continuously monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19, and we will adapt our practices as necessary should the situation evolve.

Our team of waste management experts are on hand to help answer any questions and queries ensuring peace of mind for you and your business.