The Environment Agency has now published an update to its Regulatory Position Statement (RPS C23) entitled “Incinerating specified healthcare wastes at a municipal waste incinerator: RPS C23”.
This COVID-19 RPS only applies to operators of permitted municipal waste incinerators. It sets out when you can accept and incinerate coronavirus (COVID-19) waste without varying your environmental permit – provided you comply with its conditions.
You must limit the healthcare waste to the following European Waste Catalogue (EWC) classifications. These waste types cannot include sharps waste.
- 18 01 03* – orange bagged and containerised infectious waste
- 18 01 03*, 18 01 07 and 18 01 09 – bagged and containerised wastes
- 18 01 04 and 20 01 99 – offensive hygiene wastes
- 15 02 02* – absorbents, filter materials, wiping cloths and protective clothing contaminated by hazardous substances (COVID-19 cleansing waste)
Now is very definitely the time for some meaningful studies of incinerator performance, safety, etc to support this approach to effective, and cost-effective, healthcare waste management that will ensure that when Covid-19 ceases to be a significant waste management issue the co-incineration approach will not be reversed.