Strolling along North Road on the way to Idle Valley with my faithful hound I came across a used face mask lying on the verge. The dog was mighty interested in it and at the time I was less so, but took a quick photo (above). But it got me thinking as to what arrangements are in place for the disposal of used items of PPE when the likes of you and I have done with them. Clearly chucking used PPE out of a car window onto the verge of North Road is not what is expected of us. I made an enquiry of the Head of Neighbourhoods at BDC who rather tactfully told me that the arrangements were already well circulated. But not noticed by me obviously. I am somewhat vindicated however as there has been a most recent addition to the guidance that covers such things. The guidance reads thus:
“For used PPE generated from the healthcare and similar sectors guidance is already in place. For used PPE from other sectors, including waste management, and from the public, whose use of masks and gloves seems likely to increase, PPE should be disposed of into residual waste streams and normal precautions followed. Most PPE is not recyclable and can reduce the quality of recycling waste streams”
“Members of the public who have the symptoms or are confirmed cases and are self-isolating are being educated to double bag any discarded tissues etc and leave for 72 hours before placing them in their main residual waste bin/bag”
Above guidance from Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum guidance note ‘COVID-19 AND WASTE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES’ was updated and re-published on 4 June.
For “residual waste streams”, you might read, ‘place in a bag in your green bin‘ and then leave for 72 hours if you have symptoms or are confirmed as having the virus.
So we do not have any excuses for disposing of used PPE in any other way than the guidance suggests above and certainly not along North Road. You have been educated!