Disposing of single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) items such as face masks, gloves and aprons will depend on where you have used them.
Waste generated from the home can be placed in the general household waste bin. This includes:
- Single-use PPE worn during regular daily activities;
- PPE and tissues for households with a suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 case (which must be put in a sealed plastic or paper bag, and then in your general waste bin); and
- Waste from home healthcare patients (this does not include sharps waste, pharmaceutical wastes, cytotoxic wastes etc which must be disposed of as clinical waste).
PPE wastes must not be placed in the recycling or greenwaste bin.
Requirements to store clinical waste in preparation for pick-up
Wastes should be stored in a dedicated storage area to ensure there are no environmental impacts, including appropriate bunding to contain any potential spills. It is essential that clinical and related wastes are properly segregated, packaged, labelled, handled and transported to minimise risk to waste handlers and the community.
Wastes should be stored in a container that is:
- and preferably with a closeable lid.
If the container does not have a lid, it should be stored in an appropriately bunded area that is undercover.
Place clinical waste directly into a ridged clinical waste bin or in a double-layered yellow plastic bag (double-bagging), and clearly label it as clinical waste.
Wastes should not be stored in plastic liners that have been placed directly on floors. To assist waste transporters and treaters with the increased demand for clinical wastes, please ensure clinical waste bins are full before requesting collection.
Transporting clinical waste
Clinical waste is classified as a prescribed industrial waste (PIW) and can be dangerous to people and the environment.
You must control PIW to prevent harm, especially when you transport it for disposal or treatment.
Facilities licenced to accept clinical waste
Clinical wastes are a prescribed industrial waste under the EPA Regulations. They must be transported by a permitted vehicle, and disposed of at a premises licensed to accept it.
Requirements to temporarily store clinical waste
- Make sure your waste is hygienically managed, adequately lit and have restricted access.
- Signposted with the biohazard symbol and other labelling appropriate to the types of waste stored in the area (e.g. clinical).
- Weather-proof (i.e. with walls and a roof) and with adequate containment measures (e.g. container bund and/or sump) to contain any spills. This should also prevent any waste from entering stormwater or drainage systems.
- Where cold storage units are hired from contractors, it is recommended that contractors of cold storage units are advised on what substances have been stored within the units, how and if they have been adequately cleaned.
- All received waste on-site is managed on a strict rotation basis (first in, first out), so waste received at the site first is first removed and wastes of different storage age are managed appropriately.
- Information on those that attend the site or handle the waste containers is kept on record.