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Coronavirus Safety Policy

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd - 0800 169 8588

t: 0800 169 8588

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WE ARE OPEN

FOR BUSINESS

Coronavirus Safety Aware

NO physical contact with our drivers during visits

ALL communications and paperwork sent via telephone or email

NO paperwork to be signed

ALL staff are strictly following our
Coronavirus Safety Policy

The waste consequences of Covid

Waste from PPE and other Covid related products

In an age where we are constantly looking for ways to cut down on our waste, it seems strange that so much extra waste has been created by the covid pandemic.

Plastic straws are being targeted as a major cause for concern, as are one use cups and other such consumables, but what of the masses of testing paraphernalia that is being thrown into our waste now?

The vast majority of this is made from plastic, so surely it could be recycled, but when one considers what it has been used for, it renders it potentially hazardous waste.

However, the waste doesn't end at test kits, there are face masks, surgical gloves and the bags being used to dispose of them. Add to these the plastic aprons used in hospitals and by carers on a daily basis and you will begin to understand how unsustainable the problem of plastic waste has become.

Plastic aprons and gloves as an example of serious waste

Although not all waste can be attributed to the pandemic, it certainly hasn't made the situation any better. Assume you have someone in your family who requires daily care. This may be owing to a physical or neurological condition.

If two carers call four times per day, they will each use at least one apron and one pair of gloves on each visit. These will be disposed of at the end of each session. Multiply this by the number of other patients they see in the average day, and you will begin to appreciate that even a relatively small care company can begin to generate a mountain of plastic waste. Then consider a large hospital with the same practice of fresh PPE with each and every patient in their care and the amount of waste becomes absolutely mind boggling.

Check out what the government have instructed us to do with regard to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and imagine the ever-increasing mountain of waste we are now facing due to covid.

Much of this waste will end up in landfill and like much of the plastic waste already there, could release toxins into the water course, which could not only pollute our rivers, but also make it out to sea.

Reusing and safely disposing of face coverings and PPE

Of course, you could always make a cloth face covering to cut down on the amount of waste that will find its way to landfill, but this will be a drop in the ocean, no pun intended!.

You should wash and reuse cloth face coverings to prevent and reduce waste, but think about how many more wash cycles and detergent will be used by the average family in a week if they stick to the guidelines on how frequently face coverings should be laundered.

The government suggest that if you need to throw away used face coverings or PPE, such as gloves, you should dispose of them in your black bag waste bin at home or at work, or a litter bin if you're outside.

You should not put them in a recycling bin as they cannot be recycled through conventional recycling facilities and you should take them home with you if there is no litter bin, so as to avoid them adding to the litter problem.

Assuming nobody who used the PPE or testing products is positive, you do not need to put them in an extra bag, or store them for a time before throwing them away. But what about if there is a positive case detected?

Disposing of face coverings or PPE if you or a family member are self-isolating

Here the advice changes slightly, but the amount of extra waste created is quite substantial. The advice is that if you or members of your household are self-isolating and need to dispose of any used face coverings or PPE, you should double bag them and store them for seventy-two hours before putting them in a black bag waste bin.

After you remove your PPE or face covering, wash your hands or use hand sanitiser. Still, at least hand sanitiser bottles can be recycled.

Disposing of rapid lateral flow home test kits

If you're doing a home rapid lateral flow test, you should dispose of the used rapid lateral flow kit in your waste bin at home or at work. Used test kit items could include the swab, the test strip, the sachet and the extraction tube. However, not all kits contain the same materials and most also have an assortment of soft plastic zip top bags included for sanitary disposal following the testing procedure.

Fortunately, you can still separate the used rapid lateral flow kit from any recyclable material and recycle it, if possible. Recyclable material could include the cardboard packaging, cardboard tube holder and the paper instruction booklet.

Covid waste sees a shift of perspective

Following a great deal of pressure and complaining from people who are concerned about the environmental impact of the level of covid generated waste, medical face masks could be turned into curtains or bedsheets.

The government health minister Edward Argar said the Department of Health and Social Care was also considering how to recycle materials in Covid test kits.

A study published last year found 8 million tonnes of pandemic plastic waste had been generated worldwide.

The huge cost of PPE during the pandemic

The British government has written off £8.7bn spent on PPE during the pandemic.

It has also been criticised for some deals which saw equipment bought which was found to be faulty or unsuitable for use in the NHS.

In response to a question from Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney, Mr Argar said the government was looking at ways of recycling face masks and other personal protective equipment.

The government are apparently reviewing the potential of reusable Type IIR, which are medical grade masks in acute settings, using existing laundry services to reduce the need for single-use products.

These types of masks would be recycled into curtains, mattress covers or other products.

The government also plan to pilot reusable eye protection where the product can be recycled at the end of its life. They claim to have already recycled twenty-two million visors to make plastic containers, which can be used to store food items and will also be recyclable.

Even the NHS Test and Trace are exploring alternatives to current test devices, which would be safe, effective and made of predominantly recyclable or biodegradable materials.

How large is the covid waste issue?

The COVID-19 pandemic has generated more than eight million tonnes of plastic waste globally, with over 25,000 tonnes of it entering the oceans, according to a recent study. This study found that a significant portion of this ocean plastic debris is expected to make its way onto either beaches or the seabed within three to four years. Imagine the damage it will do to marine life during the time it is floating and the continuing damage once sunk and breaking down slowly over time.

A smaller portion will go into the open ocean, eventually to be trapped in the centres of ocean basins, which can become rubbish dumps, and accumulate in the Arctic Ocean.

It was noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for single-use plastics such as face masks, gloves, and face shields.

Rivers and oceans at risk

The resulting waste, some of which ends up in rivers and oceans, is increasing the pressure on an already out-of-control global plastic problem.

The researchers used a newly developed ocean plastic numerical model to quantify the impact of the pandemic on plastic discharge from land sources.

The model simulates how the seawater moves, driven by the wind and how the plastics float on the surface of the ocean, becoming degraded by the sunlight, washing up on beaches, and sinking to the ocean floor.

The researchers found that most of the global plastic waste from the pandemic is entering the ocean from rivers. This makes sense as some major rivers are used to transport the plastic waste.

Asian rivers bear the brunt of the problem

Asian rivers account for about seventy three percent of the total discharge of plastics, with the top three rivers being the Shatt al-Arab, Indus, and Yangtze, which discharge into the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and East China Sea.

According to the study, European rivers account for eleven percent of the waste, with minor contributions from other continents.

While most of the pandemic-associated plastics are expected to settle on beaches and the seafloor, a smaller amount will likely end up circulating or settling in the Arctic Ocean.

The model shows that about eighty percent of the plastic debris that makes it into the Arctic Ocean will sink quickly, and a circumpolar plastic accumulation zone is modelled to form by 2025.

Arctic ecosystem as risk

It is understood that the Arctic ecosystem is already considered to be particularly vulnerable due to the harsh environment and high sensitivity to climate change.

To combat the influx of plastic waste into the oceans, the researchers urge for better management of medical waste in epicentres, especially in developing countries.

The researchers called for global public awareness of the environmental impact of personal protection equipment (PPE) and other plastic products.

The researchers also emphasised a need for more development of innovative technologies for better plastic waste collection, classification, treatment, and recycling, and development of more environmentally friendly materials.

So, if we are doing away with plastic drinking straws and even making other former one-use products from sustainable sources such as seaweed and bamboo, we really should be thinking of better ways of not only manufacturing, but how to dispose or recycle the products used throughout the pandemic.


Other Articles on Waste Management and Recycling in Bedfordshire

New Bill designed to ban export of plastic waste

When we throw away our waste materials, few of us know or possibly even wonder where this waste will end up. Many often believe that if it goes into the recycling bin, it will be recycled and therefore they will be doing their bit for the good of the environment. Unfortunately, a good deal of plastic waste often ends up in developing countries.

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Recycle or incinerate! What is the best solution for our waste materials in Stotfold?

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A guide to what can and cannot go into a hired skip

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The problem with plastic pollution in Bedfordshire

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Waste reduction in Bedfordshire

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Plastic waste from the United Kingdom may be sent overseas instead of recycled

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Get a skip and avoid fly tipping in Bedfordshire

Not only does fly tipping blight the Bedfordshire countryside around us, it can have a devastating effect on the wildlife that we co-exist with. Then of course there is the eye watering cost of clearing up the mess that inconsiderate people have created. We all pay the price for this ecologically unsound practice through increased council tax bills from our councils. This could all be avoided if everyone disposed of their waste in the correct manner and hiring a skip is probably the best way to go about this, particularly if you have a large amount of waste to dispose of.

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Hire a skip instead of going to your local Bedfordshire tip

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Useful information about skip hire in Bedfordshire

The one question we get asked the most at Stotfold Skip Hire is what size skip the customer will need. We always suggest that you think about what you need to dispose of and remember that two skips can be far more expensive than one larger skip. Skips are measured by the yard and range from 3 yard mini skips to roll-on roll-off containers more suitable for higher volume waste requirements.

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Hire a skip from Stotfold Skip Hire to save you time effort and money

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Having a good clear out of the garden shed or garage produces way more rubbish than you ever imagined possible. Decorating preparation can also produce a good deal of waste, such as old skirting boards and stripped wood chip paper that his been up since the war, so a skip is a great way to dispose of the waste.

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Further Information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 0800 169 8588, email us at stevenageskiphire@live.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd - Envirowaste Recycling Centre - Jacks Hill - Graveley - Herts SG4 7EQ

Stevenage Skip Hire Ltd
Envirowaste Recycling Centre
Jacks Hill
Graveley
Herts SG4 7EQ

Articles
The waste consequences of Covid
New Bill designed to ban export of plastic waste
The problems with waste disposal in Stotfold
Plastic pollution around the globe
Carbon emissions and the environment
How the five R's can dramatically improve our environment in Stotfold?
Recycle or incinerate! What is the best solution for our waste materials in Stotfold?
Single use plastic products in Stotfold
A guide to what can and cannot go into a hired skip
Recycling your waste materials in Stotfold
The problem with plastic pollution in Bedfordshire
Waste reduction in Bedfordshire
Plastic waste from the United Kingdom may be sent overseas instead of recycled
Just how recyclable is the plastic we use in Stotfold Skip Hire
What happens to all the plastic we throw out
Fly tipping: A modern day curse
Recycled plastic for roads and pavements
Seaweed sachets offer an alternative to plastic
The increasing problem of plastics in our oceans
Plastic pollution in the ocean starts from the rivers
Ways to reduce your plastic waste
Plastic microbeads are a load of rubbish
Waste plastic from the UK is polluting the globe
Hiring a skip from Stotfold Skip Hire rather than using the local dump
Hire a skip from Stotfold Skip Hire for your garden waste
Get a skip and avoid fly tipping in Bedfordshire
Some facts about waste and recycling from Stotfold Skip Hire
Hire a skip instead of going to your local Bedfordshire tip
Hire a skip from Stotfold Skip Hire for your soil and mud
Useful information about skip hire in Bedfordshire
Hire a skip from Stotfold Skip Hire to save you time effort and money
The benefits of skip hire from Stotfold Skip Hire in Bedfordshire
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