Impacts of COVID-19 on Solid Waste Management
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has received many questions regarding the management of household and hospital wastes that could be impacted by the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Generally, management of wastes should continue as normal. Care should be taken to limit direct exposure to waste using best management practices. Waste and recyclable material handlers and haulers should continue to wear personal protective equipment including gloves and eye protection while handling solid wastes. Waste handlers should follow manufacturer recommendations for disinfecting reusable personal protective equipment. A list of disinfectants approved by the US EPA is included in the link below.
Healthcare facilities should continue to handle infectious waste in accordance with medical waste management procedures. At this time, there are no indications that the presence of the Coronavirus at a healthcare facility will create new infectious waste streams requiring special handling. For instance, hospital waste such as disinfecting wipes, personal protective equipment, or disposable foodware may be disposed of as solid waste in the trash. Per usual guidance, all non-recyclable wastes from households and hospitals should be bagged and tied before being placed in a trash receptacle. All of these wastes should be disposed of in a solid waste landfill permitted to accept municipal solid waste.
Please contact the customer technical assistance line at 1-888-569-1831, ext. 3320 (outside 303/720 area codes) or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding waste handling and disposal.
COVID-19 and Infections Waste Management Links
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Medical and Pharmaceutical Waste Management: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/medicalwaste
Environmental Protection Agency list of approved disinfectants: http://astswmo.org/files/Announcements/EPA_COVID.pdf
Center for Disease Control guidance for businesses and employers: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal= https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-business-response.html
Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID 19 Solid Waste and Wastewater Management Workers and Employees
Webinar on managing COVID related wastes: http://astswmo.org/files/Resources/External/Coronavirus-Webinar.pdf
Solid Waste Association of North America Guidance on Managing COVID 19 Wastes: https://swana.org/docs/default-source/advocacy-documents/guidance_on_coronavirus-2020_03_06.pdf? sfvrsn=fee6b88a_2