Veolia has introduced a treatment service for the potentially contaminated waste generated by Covid-19 tests.
The waste produced from testing kits is classified as offensive waste (EWC 180104) and non-hazardous chemical waste (EWC 180107). This means it needs to be stored separately from all other waste, and can only be treated at facilities permitted to take it.
Donald Macphail, chief operating officer of treatment at Veolia, said: “The challenges caused by the pandemic need innovation to help organisations meet the fast-changing regulations. By adapting our services and controlling waste operations, we can ensure a safe and compliant way of dealing with this new waste stream and the unprecedented amount of test kits.
“In this way our teams of key workers are providing complete support and reacting to the ever-changing conditions imposed by Covid-19, and helping other organisations ensure the safety of their employees and customers.”
On 10 January the government said rapid, regular testing for people without symptoms of coronavirus was this week to be made available across all local authorities in England.
Veolia says its service manages all necessary operations to ensure compliance, such as the provision of suitable storage containers, collection, treatment, and accurate reporting of waste volumes.
The service includes repeat collection, tipping and return/exchange service, the supply of containers for safe on-site storage, and dual coding of waste to allow test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) to be stored in the same bags. Disposal of materials is carried out using Veolia’s nationwide network of specialised facilities.
Veolia says its new service works alongside the other specialist Covid-19 services it has introduced during the last nine months. These include a service for the collection and treatment of PPE launched in May 2020.
Veolia claimed in July that energy from waste (EfW) was the best disposal option for orange bagged healthcare waste.
The French waste management company operates 10 EfW plants across the UK, which generate around 1.4TWh of electricity through the treatment of non-recyclable waste. It uses EfW to treat clinical waste at two plants: the Tyseley ERF and the Staffordshire ERF. In December it applied to vary the permit for its EfW plant in Sheffield to allow it to accept a maximum of 10,000 tonnes a year of orange bagged healthcare waste.