2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 Personal Protective Equipment Disposal

Last Updated: May 07, 2020
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​Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Disposal in a Healthcare Facility

CLICK HERE for guidance on waste management in a quarantine and/or isolation facility

Use PPE

(N95 Respirator, Surgical Mask, Gown, Face Shield/Goggles - Disposable, Gloves)

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Follow seasonal flu procedures
Aerosol Generating Activities Follow seasonal flu procedures

Surgery

Non-aerosol Generating Activities

Follow routine waste procedures
Triage/Patient Diagnosis Follow routine waste procedures
Non-patient Care Housekeeping Dispose of in the general trash
Non-patient Care/Other Dispose of in the general trash
Special States* COVID-19 Patient Care Dispose of as Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)
Special States* Non-COVID-19 Patient Care Follow routine waste procedures


Definitions:

COVID -19 patient care: care provided to persons/animals under investigation for COVID-19 including sample collection, treatment, triage, laboratory procedures, and housekeeping.

Non-COVID-19 patient care: care provided for emergencies, accidents, surgeries, routine health care, and triage not related to COVID-19, but where staff would still take precautions and wear PPE.

Non-patient care/other: non-medical tasks performed around the facility including cashiers, administrative/front desk personnel, dining/food delivery, maintenance, security, and so forth that are not related to triage or treatment of a COVID-19 patient but where staff would still take exposure precautions and wear PPE.

Seasonal flu procedures: more stringent waste segregation procedures can be in effect during flu season.  If something is normally a solid waste during flu season, then it is still solid waste. If something is normally RMW during flu season, then it is still RMW.

Routine waste procedures: wastes contaminated to the point of dripping/saturated/caked with infectious body fluids and sharps per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Blood Borne Pathogen Standard (BBPS) are disposed of as RMW. Wastes not contaminated with infectious body fluids per the BBPS are disposed as general trash.

Special States*: states that addressed PPE used during COVID-19 patient care with specific requirements to manage as RMW.

 

References:

Texas Health Care Facility Guidance: COVID-19 medical wastes should be handled as RMW (Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 173.134 and 30 TAC Chapter 326, Subchapter B, §326.21(c)), just like the medical waste from seasonal flu patients. This would include:

Medical treatment wastes, single-use PPE, cleaning cloths/wipes, and disposable linens.

Texas non-Healthcare Waste (HCF) guidance: If the waste is generated outside a healthcare facility, then Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) would defer to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) guidance and recommendations. This guidance is for routine waste management.

Puerto Rico: Requires waste contaminated (dripping/saturated/caked) with COVID-19 patient wastes to be managed as RMW. Most PPE will not be contaminated to the point of RMW disposal.

Idaho: The most current information on COVID-19 indicates that PPE and other wastes that may be contaminated with the virus should be managed with and in the same manner as medical waste: https://www.deq.idaho.gov/waste-mgmt-remediation/solid-waste/covid-19-wastes/External Link

CDC Guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/faq.html#Waste-ManagementExternal Link

  • Follow routine procedures which means: If it is normally solid waste, then it is still solid waste; if it is normally RMW, then it is still RMW for COVID-19.
  • Management of laundry, food-service utensils, and medical waste should be performed according to routine procedures. There is no evidence to suggest that facility waste needs any additional disinfection.

OSHA Guidance: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html#solidwasteExternal Link

  • OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens standard (Title 29 CFR, 1910.1030) applies to occupational exposure to human blood and other potentially infectious materials that typically do not include respiratory secretions that may transmit COVID-19.
  • Generally, management of waste that is suspected or known to contain or be contaminated with COVID-19 does not require special precautions beyond those already used to protect workers from the hazards they encounter during their routine job tasks in solid waste and wastewater management.

For regulated medical waste information, consult the regulated medical waste information in CDC's Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Health-Care FacilitiesExternal Link (2003).


Waste Management in a Quarantine and/or Isolation Facility

Wastes generated from quarantined facilities (QFs) and isolation facilities (IFs) are considered household wastes and are not subject to the solid waste regulations that are applicable to wastes generated in a healthcare facility setting. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, “household solid waste with potential or known COVID-19 contamination should be managed like any other non-contaminated municipal solid waste (trash).”1 Wastes may include food-related items, personal hygiene products, and personnel protective equipment. 

The supporting installation will ensure uninterrupted solid waste collection at the QF and IF. Available solid waste collection dumpsters will provide ample capacity to facilitate daily waste generation, collection, and storage from the QF and IF. The containers will have covers (permanently fixed or temporary measures) to prevent saturation by rain/weather and access by scavenging wildlife.  Trash will be removed on the normal housekeeping schedule. Trash cans within buildings will be lined with trash bags. Trash bags shall be tied and then placed in a secondary trash bag for placement in outdoor containers. Personnel shall wear gloves and a mask when handling trash from QF and IF.

1.  https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.htmlExternal Link