The Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) has created an NRRA Facility Impact Report that provides examples of how NRRA Members are changing their facility operations in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click Here to view this report. We will update it as new information is shared. Please let us know what your facility is doing by taking our survey.
The following information is provided for informational purposes for our members. Original sources for this information are provided as hyperlinks; please review those original documents for more details.
Solid Waste Operators as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response
The US. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency issued a Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response. This document is advisory in nature to assist state and local officials with prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response by identifying workers who have a special responsibility to maintain their normal work schedule during COVID-19. The list includes public works operations including “[s]upport to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste.”
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Interim Guidance for Solid Waste Workers
The end of OSHA’s interim guidance document contains a section specific to solid waste workers, as summarized below.
Municipal Waste: Workers and employers should manage municipal (e.g., household, business) solid waste with potential or known COVID-19 contamination like any other non-contaminated municipal waste.
Medical Waste: For medical waste with potential or known COVID-19 contamination, manage like any other regulated medical waste. COVID-19 is not a Category A infectious substance.
Recycling: As with municipal waste, employers and workers in the recycling industry should continue to use typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment, such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure to recyclable materials they manage, including any contaminants in the materials.
How Long Does COVID-19 Stay on Surfaces?
According to the CDC’s website: “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”
A recent scientific study published by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and multiple universities indicates COVID-19 can live on the following materials for varying amounts of time:
- Copper: 4 hours
- Cardboard: 24 hours
- Stainless steel: 72 hours (3 days; but greatly reduced after 48 hours)
- Plastic: 72 hours (3 days)
For a more detailed summary of the results of the scientific study, see this New York Times article.
Note: An analysis of 22 studies that looked at other human coronaviruses, but NOT COVID-19, speculated that COVID-19 could last on surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days. Since this analysis did not study COVID-19 specifically, this information is less relevant than the above NIAID and CDC study.
Webinar presented by the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) “Managing COVID-19 Waste”
For New Hampshire Communities
If you need to make changes to your facility operations, including changes to minimize contact with solid waste that has potential or known COVID-19 contamination, operating hours, or other facility services,
please notify NHDES of the needed changes via email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. NHDES will place the notice in the facility record. No additional action is required on your part to update NHDES.
Effective immediately, NRRA’s office will be closed to visitors and only be accessible by NRRA staff. If you need to come to the office for any reason, such as to pick up a New Hampshire the Beautiful sign, you will be asked to wait outside, and a staff member will bring what you need to you.
Until we are otherwise mandated, someone will always be in our office to assist you in person. However, we are taking precautions to keep our staff safe and healthy so many staff members will be alternately working at home. Rest assured, regardless of if our staff is in the office or working remotely, they can continue to assist you effectively and efficiently. If you call the office and receive our voice mail system during regular business hours, there will always be instructions for reaching a “live person”. If you need a release number or wish to book a load/pick up, we encourage you to send your requests to email@example.com this email is regularly monitored.