NRRA’s COVID-19 Support for Municipal Members
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). The report categorizes facility changes into one of four categories: (1) safety precautions and public education; (2) temporarily not accepting certain recyclables; (3) temporarily stopping recycling; and (4) facility closure. Click Here to view this report. We updated it regularly as new information is shared. Please let us know what your facility is doing by taking our survey.
During the pandemic, NRRA is holding weekly calls for its municipal members on Wednesdays at 9 am. Instructions for joining those calls are distributed to members by email. You can also request the call-in details by emailing email@example.com.
NRRA recently launched a listserv to enable voting municipal members to easily share information with each other remotely by email. If you have not already joined the listserv, you can request access here.
**NEW** BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR RECYCLING FACILITIES DURING COVID-19 WEBINAR (Recorded 4/15/20)
BMP’s for Recycling During COVID-19 Webinar Q & A Summary – This link will bring you to a Question & Answer document that provides a summary of the questions asked and briefly summarizes the answers provided during the webinar, including timestamps indicating when each question was asked.
On April 15th, 2020, Reagan Bissonnette, NRRA Executive Director, and Bonnie Bethune, NRRA Member Services Manager, were joined by Dr. Ben Locwin to discuss COVID-19 best management practices for recycling facilities. Dr. Locwin addressed questions from live participants. Over 300 people participated in this very informative webinar! If you missed it, here’s your chance to check it out.
Viewing this Webinar is eligible for 1.0 NHDES training credit. To receive your credit certificate, please notify firstname.lastname@example.org once you’ve watched the webinar. We will need to verify your viewing of the webinar and then we will issue your credit to the email used to sign in to the recording.
Dr. Ben Locwin – Dr. Locwin is an expert on infectious disease epidemiology. He conducts clinical trials internationally for breakthrough medical treatments. Dr. Locwin has worked on vaccine candidates for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. He also has been involved with epidemiological modeling and case tracing for the current pandemic, assessing patient cases, public health and community outreach and teaching clinicians. He has been working with State and Federal government offices to provide clear scientific approaches and direction for improving public health amid the current pandemic.
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.
U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Interim Guidance for Solid Waste Workers ***UPDATED 4/15/20*** When you go to this website, scroll down to the section about 3/4 of the way down the page titled, “Interim guidance for specific worker groups and their employers” Under this section you will find information specific to Solid Waste and Waste Water 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 in the Air and 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.”
According to Dr. Ben Locwin, an expert on infectious disease epidemiology: “[A]mong the confirmed cases COVID-19 worldwide, none are being attributed to the patient making contact with a surface where the virus is persisting from and then self-inoculating themselves by touching their mouth, nose or eyes before washing or sanitizing their hands…”
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:
- Airborne: 3 hours
- Copper: 4 hours
- Cardboard: 24 hours
- Stainless steel: 72 hours (3 days; but greatly reduced after 48 hours)
- Plastic: 72 hours (3 days)
But there are two key reasons why this study doesn’t exactly reflect real life, and that context is helpful to understand.
- First, in the study the virus was released into the air in the form of tiny aerosols. In real life, respiratory droplets that you cough or sneeze sink to the ground faster than the smaller aerosols used in the study. Meaning in real life, the COVID-19 virus is unlikely to last in the air for up to 3 hours.
- Second, the amount of the virus remaining on the surfaces tested in the study was incredibly small by the end of those time periods. That means that in real life, infection from touching stainless steel or plastic, for example, is unlikely by the end of 2 to 3 days.
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.
For New Hampshire Communities
In an effort to keep up-to-date with evolving guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, NHDES’ Solid Waste Management Bureau (SWMB) has updated its list of resources relevant to the management of solid waste during the pandemic: https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/swmb/documents/messagetoswfownersandoperators.pdf.
The document now includes recently-released guidance from the CDC specific to the waste management and recycling industry, as well as other resources from national and regional organizations.
During the COVID-19 state of emergency, periodic SWMB program updates will continue to be posted on the SWMB website, under “Hot Topics” – https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/swmb/index.htm.
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 email@example.com. NHDES will place the notice in the facility record. No additional action is required on your part to update NHDES.
For Vermont Communities
Contacting NRRA Staff
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. Please contact us in advance to arrange a pickup.
We are taking precautions to keep our staff safe and healthy so 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This email is regularly monitored.