How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Changing Waste Management : Klumm Bros.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Changing Waste Management

September 3, 2021

The COVD-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our society and daily living habits. Believe it or not, this even includes waste management. While this may not be the first topic that comes to mind when considering the impact of COVID-19, it is a crucial part of managing the pandemic. How has COVID-19 affected waste management? The main impacts involve the amount of waste generated, how that waste is handled and how to protect the workers who handle it.

How 2021 has changed waste management services

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, waste management services have been charged with the task of safely disposing of an abundance of potentially hazardous healthcare waste. Healthcare waste includes all the waste from medical labs, biomedical research facilities and healthcare facilities. Hospitals are only one source of this waste, and actually account for a small fraction of the waste produced. Consider the many pharmacies, clinics, physician offices, dental practices and more that produce waste each day that may have come in contact with the COVID-19 pathogen.

During the pandemic, much of this waste is considered infectious waste. To be classified in this category, the waste must be suspected to contain disease-causing viruses, bacteria or parasites (pathogens) in a high enough concentration to infect others. When one thinks of the many masks, other personal protective equipment and various treatment materials used during the pandemic, this quickly adds up to a significant amount of potentially infectious waste.

If this waste is not properly disposed of, it can pose a hazard to waste management workers, healthcare workers and the community at large. Waste management services have responded by increasing efforts to protect their workers and the public from exposure. The biggest change has been a significant increase in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This has been required for the handling of normal household waste as well as healthcare waste.

How waste management must respond to the pandemic

To safely manage the removal and destruction of medical waste that may be contaminated with COVID-19, experts recommend relying on proven methods of disposal. This requires the involvement of medical waste management systems as well as the support of municipal waste management facilities if the medical systems become overloaded.

It is crucial that these materials are not improperly burned or discarded in ways that put pathogens into the surrounding environment or expose workers or the community to COVID-19.

The bottom line on how 2021 has changed waste management services: demand. There is higher demand for infectious waste removal, higher demand for protective equipment and higher demand for safety protocols to protect everyone involved.

Learn more

Want to learn more about how COVID-19 has affected waste management? Klumm Bros. specializes in commercial, industrial and residential demolition, excavation, concrete crushing, concrete removal, dump trucking, stone slinging and roll-off box services. We’ve been in business since 1989 and have seen how the pandemic has affected various aspects of the industry, including waste management. Contact us today with any questions or to get started on your next project. Reach our expert team at 419-829-3166.

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