Ward adapts clinical waste services to prevent spread of COVID-19

May 2020

Ward helps contain clinical waste to prevent COVID-19 contamination

Midlands-based metal recycling and waste management specialist, Ward, has adapted its clinical waste services to support hospitals and care homes, offering a rapid response service to control the spread of COVID-19.

Ward’s lockable bins help key workers to dispose of and contain contaminated waste for a period of two weeks, which is currently understood to be the longest period of time the COVID-19 can survive on surfaces. All waste must be double-bagged in orange clinical bags and clearly dated with a marker. Collection cannot take place until two weeks after the last bag is added to the container. After the two-week period is confirmed by the customer, the sealed containers are safely removed from sites and sent for incineration, providing fuel for renewable energy.

Operations Director at Ward, Donald Ward, said: “Every business is adapting to do what it can to support the fight against Coronavirus. Having dealt with biological and hazardous waste from hospitals, GP surgeries and dental practices for many years, we are familiar with developing waste management plans for medical equipment and surgical garments. We have procedures in place to store, manage and collect waste in a safe and secure way, with a complete duty of care.”

On handling hazardous waste, the Waste Industry Health and Safety Forum (WISH) notes that: “Some of the latest research indicates the virus could survive on cardboard for 24 hours and metal/plastics for up to 72 hours. It is important to note this work exposed these surfaces to high concentrations in a laboratory environment and is therefore likely to be the ‘worst case’ scenario. It is good practice to ensure a high standard of hygiene when handling waste materials, as should always be the case in waste management activities.”

Donald added: “Following a number of urgent enquiries, we’ve been able to adapt our systems to support local care homes and hospitals to provide a complete solution for disposing of materials potentially contaminated with COVID-19. The lockable storage containers are placed on site can be used for the disposal of overalls, incontinence waste, sharps, medicines and used protective equipment. They are helping to reduce spread of the virus once materials leave site and enter the waste supply chain, as we understand that sanitation measures cannot stop at source.”

In recognition of these “essential waste services”, last month, Ward was among a number of recycling and waste sector businesses to receive a letter from thanks from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and Rebecca Pow MP, who said: “As a nation we are undoubtedly going through one of the greatest health challenges we have faced in a generation, and I want to pay tribute to all of you who are working in such challenging times to protect the environment, local amenity and people’s health – your work is vital.”

For more information on Ward’s metal recycling and waste management capabilities visit www.ward.com.