In the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak, there is an increasing demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) to avoid the said virus. Based on the latest record, there are about 55 million Covid-19 positive cases worldwide, and about 15 million of them are active. Although some countries have eased their lockdowns, PPEs are still required whenever you go out.
However, take note that used PPEs can also spread the virus if not disposed of properly.
Meanwhile, reusing PPEs require a sanitisation process to kill the virus. Probably, most of you don’t know how to dispose of and reuse PPEs properly, so we have prepared this easy guide for you to follow.
What is Personal Protective Equipment?
Before jumping into how to dispose and reuse PPEs, you need to know first the equipment you need to protect yourself from the virus. The following items are considered as PPEs for the Covid-19:
- Goggles or Disposable Face Shield
- Face Mask (N95 or Disposable Surgical Mask)
- Gloves (Clean and Nonsterile)
- Medical/Isolation Gown
Wearing these items depends if you are working in a hospital or just going out. But, most likely, you only need a face mask and a face shield for protection.
How to Properly Dispose PPEs?
Unfortunately, there are still irresponsible individuals who illegally litter their medical waste on the streets or in oceans. According to the United Nations, the global sales of disposable face masks can reach 160 billion this year, and 75% of them can end up in landfills or oceans.
That said, it could aggravate the ocean pollution that is still happening right now. Thus, you need to dispose of PPEs properly to help save marine life. Moreover, improper waste disposal can be a source of the spread of the virus in your community.
Avoid these unfortunate events from happening by following these steps:
- Minimise contact as much as possible. After removing the PPE, wash your hands with soap or sanitise them with alcohol.
- Discard materials into a plastic bag specific for PPE.
- Mark the bags as infectious waste. Usually, orange or yellow bags indicate hazardous waste for their designated waste management.
- Use double bags to prevent medical waste from leaking.
- Never overfill a bag or container. About 75% of its capacity is enough to throw out.
- Wait for at least 72 hours to put them on their designated bins.
How to Properly Reuse PPEs?
Most of the time, PPEs are one-time use only. However, there are some items that you can reuse to help reduce the increasing medical waste generation. These are the following:
You can use N95 masks for about 8 hours as long as the inside respirator remains clean and still breathable.
In desperate cases, you can use cloth masks if alternatives are unavailable. But, make sure to wash them with soap and bleach after use to avoid spreading the virus if you come in contact with a Covid-positive person.
Using gloves, clean the inside and outside surfaces of the face shield with detergent or alcohol. Make sure to wipe all sides and corners for added precaution. You can use towels to dry the face shield or hang it outside. Also, don’t forget to throw your gloves properly and wash hands with soap after.
Medical/isolation gowns can be disposable and washable. For the washable ones, you need to wash them with detergent. Also, don’t mix them with your regular laundry for added safety. After washing, let them dry and store in a manner that remains clean until use.
Immediately replace thin, ripped, and worn-out reusable gowns so that the virus cannot penetrate the PPE.
The global health crisis caused by Covid-19 has necessitated the world to use personal protective equipment to avoid the virus. Along with this, the medical waste generation from face masks, face shields, medical gowns, and gloves have increased in numbers. We must properly dispose and reuse PPEs to help save the environment from landfilling and littering, especially in marine life.
If you want to free yourself from the hassle of disposing of dangerous PPEs, you can always ask for Aussie Junk.
Our team of professional removalists is the leading expert in medical waste disposal. We always follow the standard health protocols and the guidelines of NSW EPA for proper waste transport.
For more than 20 years in the industry, we have serviced thousands of clients who keep returning for our services. We have the most efficient methodology for you, whatever type of waste you need to get rid of. Our top-rate staff will be at your doorsteps within an hour after your call.