Specialist waste management firm WasteCare has launched a service to help businesses safely dispose of the waste generated from used test kits.
The government recently ramped up its workplace rapid testing programme, cutting the qualifying threshold for businesses to just 50 employees (from 250). This means that the testing regime could now be available to somewhere in the region of 43,000 businesses and 14.4 million employees.
Although a large proportion of qualifying businesses have employees working from home, this escalation in testing has resulted in a large increase in businesses now producing challenging waste. UK waste regulations require this material to be correctly managed to prevent it posing a health risk to others.
Waste produced from lateral flow antigen testing devices and PPE is classified as ‘offensive waste’ while the swabs and cartridges are also classified as ‘non-hazardous chemical waste’. As a result, used items need to be stored and collected separately from all other types of waste. They must also be treated in properly permitted waste management facilities.
WasteCare said its simple, cost-effective and environmentally sound solution provides customers with the appropriate clinical waste bags or boxes for absorbent pads, vials and tissues as well as used PPE to ensure that customers have the correct containment mechanism to operate safely in the knowledge that the waste is stored compliantly before collection. The waste is treated at WasteCare’s high-temperature incineration facility, which also generates electricity from the energy recovered from the treatment process.
Wastecare’s CEO, Peter Hunt, said: “Regular Covid-19 testing is something that is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. The increased availability of lateral flow testing has resulted in large numbers of businesses producing clinical and offensive waste that would not ordinarily do so.
“To avoid a build-up of this waste, it is vital that these businesses are able to dispose of it safely and in a cost-effective manner. By keeping it separate from their general waste and treating it properly, we can ensure that testing waste does not present further health issues or support the spread of the virus.”
Image credit | WasteCare