How to dispose of COVID-19 Lateral Flow Tests and PPE Safely and Efficiently.
As the government begins to roll out lateral flow testing into local authority sites, schools, and hospitals, a number of issues have since arisen regarding how to dispose of all the waste items generated including lateral tests and other items such as personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and overalls.
As it stands currently, the waste from these rapid-testing sites is not currently classified as ‘clinical waste’. Even though these testing sites are regarded as healthcare settings, it is important that the waste produced from these sites is not over-classified into the category of ‘clinical waste’. This is because the UK is currently facing a severe shortage of clinical waste disposal services.
The removal and disposal of clinical waste is far more costly and complex than traditional waste or recycling services
The over-classification of healthcare waste into the clinical waste category will only add to the problem of the shortage of available disposal services. The removal and disposal of clinical waste is also far more costly and complex than traditional waste or recycling services.
Below is an overview of the different types of COVID-19 lateral flow tests and PPE waste that different organisations may be generating, and how it may currently be disposed of:
|Item||Waste Categorisation||Waste Route||Disposal|
|General Waste||General / Recycling||Materials Recycling Facility or Energy from Waste plant||Existing municipal route|
|All Packaging||Packaging||Materials Recycling Facility or Energy from Waste plant||Existing municipal route|
|Swabs||Chemical||Energy from Waste plant or Clinical Waste Incinerator||Clear or Tiger bags.|
|Cartridges / Devices||Chemical||Energy from Waste plant or Clinical Waste Incinerator||Clear or Tiger bags.|
|PPE||Offensive||Energy from Waste plant or last resort Landfill||Clear or Tiger bags.|
The collection of generated COVID-19 test waste including PPE, swabs and cartridges come with a number of problems. While used testing kits and swabs have properties that require incineration, they do not necessarily need to be consigned as hazardous or infectious clinical waste; this is because the infection hazard on the swab itself will have been nullified by the chemicals used during the testing process.
The collection of generated COVID-19 test waste including PPE, swaps and cartridges come with a number of problems
And whilst all used PPE including masks, gloves and overalls can be disposed of into landfill if it is all collected together, if it is collected with used test kits then it will require incineration.
If your business, organisation or educational institution is introducing lateral flow testing and are unsure of the correct disposal protocols, contact us today to speak to our expert waste management team and let us help you manage your waste streams properly. Our team of waste experts are ready to not only help and advise of the correct way to dispose of your waste, but because we provide full-service waste management options, we are also likely to be able to save you money when compared to local competitor waste services.
Because we provide full-service waste management options, we are also likely to be able to save you money when compared to local competitor waste services
Our commercial waste team is also one of the only companies to provide collections 7 days a week in Ipswich and the surrounding area and is just one of the reasons why we are Ipswich’s first choice for commercial waste services. Contact us today to discuss your commercial waste or COVID-19 lateral flow waste disposal requirements on 01473 432222, or email us at email@example.com.
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