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How to dispose of personal protective equipment

dispose of personal protective equipment
Published: August 18, 2020

Medical waste, such as that generated by hospitals and other medical facilities, must be disposed of according to strict guidelines. It has never been more important to handle these potentially biohazardous materials with care. At Solo Resource Recovery, we are able to assist your business with the disposal of medical waste, including personal protective equipment.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is anything that is worn to protect people from the spread of infections. Masks, gowns, shoe covers, and gloves are all common examples of PPE. These are typically worn by staff in a hospital setting, though use of masks and gloves has increased in daily life to protect against contagious diseases. There can be a grey area or confusion around how PPE can be disposed of in a manner that is legal, safe and responsible. This blog explains your obligations when it comes to binning PPE.

There are some circumstances under which PPE is a clear biohazard. For example, if used in a hospital setting among patients, any PPE must be disposed of in the correct bins. Usually, hospitals will have medical waste bins which are ideal for this purpose. They may have designated waste bins in which you are supposed to place used PPE. A distinction must be drawn between items which can be cleaned and re-used, and those which must be disposed of. Usually, a hospital will have designated laundry containers for any PPE which is to be thoroughly cleaned. All disposable items will be placed in bins for medical waste to be destroyed. At Solo Resource Recovery, we can provide special bins and containers for this purpose. We also collect these containers regularly or when full, replacing them with empty receptacles.

Smaller healthcare businesses and facilities may need some assistance to understand their obligations in disposing of medical or biohazardous waste. Give us a call at Solo Resource Recovery and we will be able to advise on the appropriate waste disposal options for your establishment.

You may be unclear about how to dispose of personal use items such as masks and gloves outside the healthcare setting. Some masks can be re-used many times, in which case you simply need to launder them on the highest suitable temperature setting that the fabric can tolerate. Single use items are allowed to be disposed of in regular mixed waste collections. They do not need to be thrown out in medical waste bins, which the general public does not have regular access to. If other people have access to the bin you are using, for their protection it is safest to first place the mask in a tied off plastic bag. When throwing out any PPE, health authorities advise to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards. Many businesses are finding that they need to provide mixed waste bins on site for the convenience of their clients and visitors who may need to dispose of masks.

Get in touch with us at Solo Resource Recovery to discover how we can support your business with the disposal of medical and other types of waste. Give us a call on 1300 46 76 56 or leave us a message through our website enquiry form. We are the experts in management of all kinds of business waste and medical waste.

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