SWANA Urges Proper Disposal of Personal Protective Equipment: Here's the Right Way to Dispose of PPE and Plastic or Latex Gloves to Protect Sanitation Workers From COVID-19

Tania Tarafdar

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the nation, pharmacies and clinics are pharmacies are running out of protective masks and gloves. And while the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention does not advice the ordinary people to wear gloves, health care workers need to put them on mandatorily. That said, it is okay to use gloves for cleaning and disinfecting your home, but you need to dispose of them properly after every use. Improperly discarded gloves can increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) urges people to use fresh Personal Protective Equipment and proper disposal of PPE to prevent cross-contamination.

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Risk of Discarded Medical Waste for Sanitation Workers

Handling wastes emerging from COVID-19 patients put sanitation workers at a higher risk of the disease. Discarded masks, gloves and tissues are the potential sources of the highly contagious virus. Apart from rag pickers, there is no mechanism for the collection and disposal of waste generated by quarantine homes. Should You Be Wearing Gloves While Grocery Shopping? Here’s How They Can be The Carrier of Coronavirus Germs During COVID-19 Pandemic.

If we care for the lives, of our fellow brothers and sisters and want to prevent the spread of the disease, we need to decontaminate the waste with sanitisers before throwing in trash cans or paper bags. At hospitals, dedicated bin, labelled 'COVID-19', should be kept in a separate, storage room and handled by authorised staff. How to Use Gloves Correctly During Coronavirus Outbreak? Michigan Nurse Demonstrates the Right Way to Wear Gloves to Avoid Cross-Contamination in This Viral Video.

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Steps to Remove and Dispose of Gloves Properly

  • Grasp the outside of one glove with your wrist without touching your bare skin.
  • Then pinch the glove away from your body by pulling it inside out.
  • Hold the glove you just removed in your other gloved hand.
  • Then, peel off the second glove by putting your fingers inside the glove at the top of your wrist.
  • Turn the glove inside out while pulling it away from your body.
  • Now dispose of the gloves safely in your trash can and make sure that you decontaminate the waste with a sanitiser.
  • Cover the dustbin with a lid and do not reuse the gloves.
  • Clean your hands immediately after disposing of the gloves.

If you are using wipes to clean a cart at a store, be sure that you dispose it of properly. Also, ensure that you put the gloves in a trash receptacle at the store. Coronavirus Prevention: Can the Disposable Latex Gloves Protect You from Getting Infected by COVID-19? Experts Warn It Could Be Causing More Harm Than Good!

The government can only help sanitation and rag pickers workers with safety gear and health advice. We, as a community, need to work responsibly when it comes to disposal of household wastes.