Waste, particularly residual waste, generally has to be treated as potentially unsafe, irrespective of the current pandemic. Operatives are all issued with protective clothing including gloves and are expected to wear them. The refuse operators do not, in any event, directly touch waste; it is tipped directly into the rear of the refuse vehicles and then transferred in bulk to the processing facility, and in the case of residual waste ends up being burned (mostly in the kilns at Rugby Cement), therefore the risk to operatives should is low.

We know the Government’s advice for those who know they have Covid-19 is to double-bag waste such as tissues and leave for 72 hours, after which it can be disposed of normally. Those who have Covid-19 but are unaware of this will not, obviously, not be following this advice. There is, therefore, some potential for infected material to enter the residual waste stream. However, given the way all residual waste is handled, it is hard to see a significant risk.

We are complying with current government advice and will continue to do so if, or when, that advice changes.