Blog PostJune 3, 2020 - Updates for Members
Waste Management Considerations During COVID-19
With pretty much EVERYTHING cancelled or postponed in our lives these days, we are taking comfort in our “castles” and homes. Comfort to the point where when you are sitting on the couch staring at the walls you all the sudden have an idea – “let’s do some spring cleaning”. So, you get on your gloves and start stuffing those “unnecessaries” into bags ready to toss and throw. Now, it’s time to march down the hallway to the garbage chute to properly send off Aunt Gertrude’s 1987 Christmas present that has collected dust all these years…. STOP.
Enter the new world we live in – COVID-19. This pandemic implicates every one of us, and its time to “go beyond” the use of handsanitizer alone. According to a recent story in the media, the management of a condo tower in Toronto is warning occupants of the building after a resident tested positive for COVID-19. What happens now?
Building cleaning protocols have been revised for the most part, including increased cleaning of the common elements such as door handles leading into the garbage chute rooms on each floor, and the actual chute door surface & handle, cleaned at least twice daily or more with an approved cleaning product bearing a Drug Identification Number (DIN), which means they are approved for use in Canada - bleach being the exception as it does not have a DIN. This will ensure that what is being used for cleaning actually cleans the surface and kills the virus. A helpful guide is publishedon the Government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19/list.html
In dealing with your daily trip to the garbage chute or garbage room at your property some minor changes to this routine are recommended:
- All paper hygiene products go in the garbage, and not into organics (if your building is participating). All tissues, napkins and paper towels should be placed in the garbage, and not the organics bins.
- Place disposable gloves, masks and disinfecting wipes in the garbage. Some wipes are also advertised as “flushable” – these too must go in the garbage.
- When headed to the garbage chute or garbage room, wear disposable gloves where possible. If none are available, WASH YOUR HANDS immediately after touching the garbage chute vestibule door leading into the garbage chute room, the garbage chute door and/or handles, or any garbage or recycling containers. https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/preventing-infections.aspx
- HOW to wash your hands: https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/doing-business/resources/Documents/HowToWashHands.pdf
- If you are feeling sick, place any items that have come in contact with your mouth, nose or eyes in the garbage bin. This includes items that would normally end up in the recycling bins (water bottles, pop cans, milk/juice containers, etc.)
- For your spring cleaning items that are considered “reusable” - items that include household goods, clothing, books and toys – hold onto them. Charities and businesses that collect reusable goods are not an essential service have been closed during the pandemic. As of the writing of this blog, some have re-opened and are operating on reduced hours such as Goodwill. They are accepting some items, but not furniture or heavy items. https://goodwillindustries.ca/donation-centre-locator/
- With the increase in product, grocery, and food deliveries, it is important to continue to sort recycling and organics properly to maintain waste diversion practices wherever possible. Remember to flatten your cardboard. This will assist others who followyou to deposit their materials from touching and pushing your materials down into the container in order to get their materials into the bins.
With added cleaning and safety precautions taken into consideration for the simple task of throwing things down the chute and into the dumpsters, COVID-19 has required all of us to take garbage to the next level – or at least an added layer of safety.
Jason Tower, B.E.S., EMPD
Partner, CanAm Waste