Keeping Your Waste Safe and Protect Front Line Waste Operatives

Matt Luntley, explores current guidance given and shares resources for latest advice.

Towards the outbreak of the pandemic there was a message from industry on how to best effectively manage waste in the home if you were to become ill. The statement which was compiled by WRAP, LARAC, the ESA, NAWDO and the CIWM states that if you or anyone in your household feels ill at home (whether diagnosed with COVID-19 or not) then please put all waste into the general waste and double bag it. Ensuring the bags are securely tied the waste should then be left for at least 72 hours before being put out for collection. Where you or your household are showing no symptoms of illness, we’re all encouraged to do our best to continue to reduce, re-use and recycle where possible.

The aim of the above advice is to protect front line waste removal operatives who are undertaking a key function in the fight to keep our kerbside collections going. Remarkably the latest figures collated by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) from their survey of councils (WC 04/05) states that 99% of council residual waste collections are being carried out either ‘normally’ or with ‘minimal’ disruption. In terms of recycling collections, again a very encouraging 99% were either operating normally or with minimal disruption. Garden waste and bulky waste were the most severely affected with ‘normal operations’ at levels of 56% and 36% respectively. For the latest findings from ADEPT’s surveys please go to

There is useful information and advice out there regarding handling and managing waste in the crisis. The Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum are releasing updated health and safety advice regularly. Below is a segment from their latest advice around how long the virus stays on different materials and I think is of particular interest:

“Latest research indicates the virus could survive on cardboard for 24 hours, and metal/plastics for up to 72 hours. It is important to note this work exposed these surfaces to high concentrations in a laboratory environment and is likely to be the ‘worst case’ scenario. It is good practice to ensure a high standard of hygiene when handling waste materials, as should always be the case in all waste management activities. The virus survives on the skin for more than enough time to allow hand to mouth/nose/eyes transmission.“

Their full advice can be found here

We’re conducting fortnightly webinars on all things waste and recycling during the pandemic and you can sign up to these, as well as our other events, here.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this weblog represent those of the individual authors and not those of Valpak Limited or any other organisation.