Clinical waste and bad weather

The Telegraph today has a round-up of the responses of various Local Authorities to domestic collections while the bad weather continues, or perhaps after the bad weather has eased considerably and LAs get into swing again after a long Christmas and New Year holiday when someone forgot to plan for on-going waste management at a time when waste generation must peak considerably!

Exhorting families “to keep waste off street until binmen return“, only one item really catches my eye.

Birmingham city council’s website states: “If you have a scheduled black sack or clinical waste collection for this day and your collection was missed, please take your waste back and place it within the boundary of your property as near to the edge of your property as possible and we will collect it as soon as possible.”

So, place your clinical waste, that has been accumulating for 2, 3 or possibly even 4 weeks , at the curtilage and leave it there!

That’s it, in a nutshell. So much for waste security. And what about those without a garden or other suitable location? Leave it in the flat or maisonette?  In the tower block stairway, or maybe on the pavement?

And what about containers for all this clinical waste? Since most LAs use a one-for-one replacement approach for clinical waste sacks and sharps bins, domestic waste producers may well have exhausted the capacity of their existing waste containers with no idea of what to do with the overflow. Hopefully, most domestic clinical or sanitary waste producers and their carers will take a sensible approach and not be castigated by over-enthusiastic LA officers who might complain, or worse, about the decisions made in the absence of a waste collection service.

Clearly, the supply of waste containers to domestic sanitary and clinical wastes producers needs review, to ensure a sufficient stock of suitable containers to cover periods of disruption caused by adverse weather, industrial disputes and admin cock-ups! 

These problems that in other circumstances would have the LAs themselves, and the regulatory agencies, jumping up and down with indignation at such sloppy waste packaging and security, have been discussed repeatedly on the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum.

But nothing changes. The Environment Agency puff and blow about segregation and waste security – quite rightly too, though there never seem to get beyond puffing and blowing –  as do HSE , but at times like this neither seem to raise from their slumber.

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