COVID-secure workplace: are your waste & recycling services up to the task?



As we all make plans to emerge from lockdown; what will businesses need to do to get up and running? And how best to manage critical services in a challenging and ever-changing businesses environment?

Agility: more than ever, one size does not fit all.

Agility is the key word in getting your business back up and running in the new post-Covid-19 world. We’ll all need to make sure we have the right team, tech and services in place to run your site(s) according to the latest Government rules and guidance, and according to your own Risk Assessment. Things will undoubtedly change on regular basis, so you need to have a team ready to respond at speed.

Because of this increased need for agility, we are launching First Mile Flex; a package of a regular waste and recycling services, plus some new services for high-risk waste. These services can be easily flexed up and down to ensure you have the best possible chance of opening-up quickly and safely.

Implement best practice for minimising risk.

We believe low-risk services should all be based on a sack service (or lined box) and regular collections from outside your business. We recommend the following as part of your COVID-secure workplace waste plans:

Avoid leaving waste on site for extended periods and limit the number of people who handle waste

  • Ensure cleaners are briefed to empty and change office bins on a daily basis (or more regularly depending on the size of your business)
  • Switch to a more regular collections service; either fewer wheelie bins collected more frequently (this shouldn't cost you more) or a more flexible PAYG sack collection service which will also save you money if you expect your waste volumes to vary coming out of lockdown

Single-use PPE should be handled separately from other waste streams to limit contamination risk

Ensure bins and bin areas have been thoroughly cleaned before your teams return to work

  • Arrange a deep clean for bins and bin areas

Restrict external companies and service providers from entering the building

  • If your waste company normally empties individual internal bins (e.g. confidential waste), organise and agree a central collection point and/or an out-of-hours service
  • Ask cleaners or facilities staff to service internal bins and deliver the sacks to the agreed central collection point

Make GDPR-compliant arrangements for any confidential waste at employee's homes

        Cleaner workspaces.

        It is likely you will be cleaning your business premises more often and using more disposal cleaning products for the foreseeable future. It is essential your cleaning team and staff doing their own cleaning understand how to dispose of used cleaning products, and we recommend you consider the following:

        1. Blue paper and other cleaning wipes cannot be recycled and need to go in general waste services. For higher-risk waste, use an Offensive Waste service or PPE collections service like the ones offered by First Mile
        2. Ask cleaners to recycle cleaning product bottles and triggers
        3. Ensure cleaners are asked to remove their own PPE waste or provide them with the appropriate Offensive Waste service
        4. Make sure bin cleaning is part of your cleaner’s routine or ask for a specialist company to help you
        5. Check cleaners have a good supply of the bin sacks that are specified in your Risk Assessment and make sure they are not defaulting to thin liners
        6. Encourage cleaners to buy eco-cleaning products – they will be using a lot more so now is a good time to change your requirements. We recommend Delphis Eco products.

        Don’t forget about home workers.

        Home working will also continue either as part of Lockdown-release or on a permanent basis, and as an employer it is critical that you continue to support your home-teams as focus starts to shift back to your main business site. There are many ways in which you can support home workers but some of the ways we at First Mile can help are as follows:

        Whatever the exact rules are as we emerge from lockdown there will be an impact on your waste management, a service which is left to the last minute. Now is the time and opportunity to integrate end-of-life thinking into your plans to re-open your business and to do so effectively. We believe the best way to do this is to plan for agility and work with flexible partners and service providers.

        Good luck, and please let us know how we can help:

        customers@thefirstmile.co.uk
        0808 503 3138

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