COVID-19: How to safely dispose of masks and gloves?

Garbage related to COVID-19 can also become a source of dangerous pathogens if not collected and disposed of properly.

During the complicated development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of medical waste has increased significantly. The increased amount of waste during this time easily becomes a source of infectious pathogens as dangerous as F0, F1. The disposal and treatment of waste of sick people and people living in environments at risk of COVID-19 infection should receive more attention.

The types of waste associated with COVID-19 are usually masks, disinfectant bottles, blood-stained tissues, PPE kits, gloves, and household waste. These items can be viewed as infectious waste. This type of waste is suspected to contain pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, capable of making healthy people sick.

This waste also includes medical materials and devices used to diagnose, detect and treat COVID-19. In essence, they have been contaminated with blood, tissues, body fluids, organs, needles, thermometers, toilet paper, gauze, urine bags, and other medical devices or materials that have come into contact with the fluid. secretions of infected patients.

According to one study, the expected amount of hazardous waste generated per day from an infected person can reach a maximum of 3.4kg. The sudden increase in the amount of waste generated by patients infected with COVID-19 has put enormous pressure on the waste management industry in every part of the world, especially in the epidemic areas.

Infectious waste can cause environmental and health problems if not stored, transported or handled properly. According to one study, the COVID-19 virus can remain active on surfaces such as plastic, metal and glass for up to 9 days, on serum samples for 11-12 days, 17-31 days in feces and 13-29 days in respiratory secretions.

To ensure the safety of those around you, here are some things to keep in mind when disposing of COVID-19 related waste:

If there is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the household, members should be aware that patient waste can also be a source of the disease. Therefore, it is necessary to handle them carefully. Patient waste should be collected early and not left outdoors.

Medical waste should be kept separate from other household waste. Waste containers must be tightly closed after storing garbage. To avoid direct contact with waste, the bag must be sealed before the waste exceeds 70% of the bag’s capacity. This trash bin or bag/container needs to be kept out of reach of scavenger animals such as crows or rats.

One of the most important things is that people who dispose of garbage need to wash their hands after coming into contact with trash cans/bags. During treatment, infectious waste should be placed in separate bins or boxes, possibly with prominent colors for easy identification. In addition, leftovers and food packaging used by COVID-19 patients can still be considered waste with a certain risk of infection.