What You Need to Know About Proper Waste Management During COVID-19

What you need to know about proper waste management during COVID-19

As individuals across all communities in the country continue to practice self-isolation, the need to keep our body and mind busy is paramount. The growing list of chores to distract you may include things like deep cleaning your home, purging old items from storage, and of course, the traditional seasonal wardrobe change. And while these tasks can feel productive while taking your mind off of things, it also has the potential to create large piles of waste on garbage day. 

Municipalities and regions have already seen higher than normal volumes of waste and recycling being put out for collection. Still, it’s not all due to our collective urge to take on spring cleaning. In addition to everyday waste and excess garbage, essential items like sanitizing wipes, gloves, masks and tissues are being sent to the curb, putting waste collectors in the way of potentially dangerous waste. Knowing the correct protocols as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 is key to keeping our community thriving. We’ve put together some quick tips to help you and your family dispose of household and outdoor waste correctly and safely. 

3 tips to safely dispose of unwanted items during the coronavirus pandemic

1. Think before you toss it in a bin

There is currently an increase in demand for services, so it’s important we do our part by actively questioning what is necessary to throw out right now and what could wait for a later date. This is especially true when it comes to household items you may be tossing during a general clean up, but it’s also essential for waste outside the home, too. Initially, yard waste pickup was placed on hold in some cities, but as those outdoor waste restrictions begin to lift, you must make a conscious effort to take precautions and limit the amount of waste you are contributing. At times, you may also find a delay in pick up, or a missed collection, depending on the state of demand in your neighbourhood. Practice patience and understanding during this time, and avoid calling non-emergency services (like 3-1-1 in Toronto) to report matters such as this, unless they are, in fact, urgent. 

2. Dispose of sanitization and protective gear safely

Communities and households are experiencing increased waste when it comes to used sanitation and protective gear used in the protection against COVID-19. And while the proper use of these items is essential to the health and protection of you and the people around you, disposing of them correctly is just as vital. Simply tossing these used items in a garbage bin is not enough, as it can put waste collection workers at risk. Placing these used items in an individual bag inside your large garbage bag is an effective way to protect our essential waste workers. The community has also been asked at this time to avoid dropping used tissues and napkins in the green bin and tossing them in regular garbage bins instead. This same precaution should be practiced for personal sanitary items like makeup wipes as well.

3. Stay up to date on waste collection changes 

By now, we’ve learned that rules and guidance provided to protect ourselves from contracting COVID-19 can change daily, and that goes for essential services like the collection of waste as well. Staying up to date on the changes to services by municipality and region can help you plan for interruptions while controlling the amount of waste you produce. GarbageDay is a perfect tool for recent updates that can help homeowners stay informed on collection changes, and remind them when to take out the appropriate bins. Read more about GarbageDay and what we do.

Practicing patience and understanding with garbage day scheduling during these unprecedented times can make the difference between a good day and a bad day. The safety of our community depends on all of us making educated decisions, in the spirit of looking out for each other and those on the frontlines, like waste collection workers.  

Sign up for GarbageDay to stay connected to waste collection changes in your area, so you know what days to dispose of your waste and which bin needs to be safely taken to the curb. 

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.