NSW EPA releases COVID-19 WARR fact sheets

Waste items from people in isolation with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in non-healthcare facilities should be placed in red-lidded waste bins, according to the NSW EPA.

The advice is listed in a series of EPA fact sheets pertaining to waste and resource recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the EPA, the risk of COVID-19 transmission when handling waste is low, however safe routine procedures should be followed.

Furthermore, despite public health orders listing restrictions to activities and places that are closed, the EPA says the waste and recycling industry should remain open, and “continue to provide its important services to the community and businesses.”

“Keeping facilities open also helps to reduce the potential for illegal dumping of waste that costs millions of dollars to clean up,” the fact sheet reads.

Under model work health and safety laws, employers must have measures in place to eliminate or mange risks arising from COVID-19.

“Measures to reduce risk include providing workers with appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection, and information and training on how and why they are required to use them,” the fact sheet reads.

Additionally, the EPA stresses that waste facilities should remain open to the public to provide easy disposal options.

The NSW Government will also continue to work with the transport industry to ensure uninterrupted movement of goods and other materials across state borders.

“NSW has not imposed any state-based restrictions on the movement of waste,” the fact sheet reads.

While the Queensland Government has tightened restrictions on entry into the state, these restrictions provide for the continuation of essential goods and services.

The EPA also suggests operators develop a business continuity plan if one is not already in place.

“Plans should include the priority responsibilities of storing, transporting and disposing of waste appropriately, as well as measures to continue essential waste services like kerbside collection,” the fact sheet reads.

“Plans should be assessed and revised to account for changing circumstances, such as reduced staff numbers or the loss of key personnel, with focus given to high-risk activities.”

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