As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, the need for guidance and methods for proper protective personal equipment (PPE) disposal is increasingly felt, along with solutions to tackle the sheer volume of waste.
The World Economic Forum recently declared that “Coronavirus waste has become a new form of pollution.” The University College London study estimates that if every person used a single-use face mask a day for a year, it would create an additional 66,000 tons of contaminated waste and 57,000 tons of plastic packaging”.And when you consider these types of volumes all around the world, the problem quickly becomes overwhelming.
The need for face masks is not going away any time soon. We’re seeing that cities, schools, and healthcare providers need quality PPE now as the country opens back up. Until a proven vaccine is widely tested and used, face mask-wearing will continue to be part of our everyday life.
Some businesses are looking at alternate PPE collection and disposal options, such as routing it to a medical waste company rather than in their general trash. The PPE is intended to help us fight a public health challenge, not create a plastic pollution problem.
Disposing of PPE Waste Correctly & Safely
Personal protection equipment, or PPE, is an important part of any medical facility’s overall safety program. No matter what type it is, all PPE will eventually need to be disposed of, and it is vital to ensure that it is done properly.
We follow standard protocols to ensure that we are disposing of potentially contaminated waste correctly.
Consider all stages: from storage, through handling and bagging, to transportation and laundering.
- Minimize contact, i.e., handle materials as little as possible and transfer them via routes that minimize exposure to others.
- Discard materials into a suitable container or bag. It must conform to the required standards.
- Use bags that are marked or colored for infectious waste. This includes orange or yellow bags (or signs) and text or symbols indicating the bag contains hazardous waste for treatment or incineration.
- Transfer non-disposable infectious materials safely to the sterilization department for decontamination. You must adhere to the local policy for cleaning the equipment.
- Always use puncture-resistant containers sharps, as they will not leak.
- Use pierce-proof waste containers and close them in between use for safety.
- Never fill a bag or container for more than ¾ full.
- Never overfill waste receptacles.
- Remove waste in accordance with local clinical waste disposal policy; it may be collected by the relevant authorities, removed by an infection control team, or incinerated.
Whatever waste you are handling, you must follow the procedures instructed to you and minimize direct contact. This ensures you break a link in the chain of infection and stop the spread of infectious diseases.
We are working hard to create a safe environment for everyone.
As different governments strengthen their local restrictions, at We Shield, we work hard to create a safe and clean environment for our front line workers and individuals at most risk of contracting COVID-1. We source and distribute top-quality personal protective equipment and safety supplies at the best pricing on the market.