COVID-19 RECYCLING PROCEDURES
Bolstering Buffalo Inc. wants you to know that we take your health and safety seriously, along with our own. Unfortunately, we have reached an uncertain time across the globe, and it has recently hit home for us in Cochise County after recording its first official case of the Novel Coronavirus. We, like any other prudent business, want to make sure we have procedures in place to protect our customers and ourselves.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released general guidance for U.S. workplaces, with expanded procedures for Solid Waste and Wastewater Management Workers and Employers. In short, municipal waste and recyclable materials known to have potential or known COVID-19 contamination is to be handled like any other non-contaminated municipal waste using “typical engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE(Personal Protective Equipment), such as puncture-resistant gloves and face and eye protection, to prevent worker exposure to the waste streams (or types of wastes), including any contaminants in the materials, they manage. Such measures can help protect workers from sharps and other items that can cause injuries or exposures to infectious materials.”
Rebecca and I (Eric), have already been paying close attention to and practicing health and safety procedures. As you can imagine, handling municipal waste and recycling materials isn’t the cleanest of occupations. We have already been exchanging used gloves for new ones at the start of each day, washing the contaminated pairs, and wearing clothes dedicated to pickup days that are also washed at the end of each day. Soon we will be donning N95 breathing/face masks and eye protection. Our biggest concern is while dumping items into our bins, which may dislodge infectious droplets and send them into the air that we breathe, or enter our eyes.
How can our customers help prevent the spread of COVID-19? Below we have put together a list of procedures that will help protect you and your family, your fellow recyclers, and us.
- If you, as a subscriber, or anyone in your household, has been infected with COVID-19, or is known to have been in contact with another person(s) that has COVID-19, please contact us as soon as possible so that we may place your account on hold until you are well. Further, to help prevent the spread of the virus, if you are experiencing symptoms that reflect COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, but have not been tested or known to have been exposed, please call us to put your account on hold. Other symptoms can include: Tiredness, Aches, Runny Nose, and Sore Throat. Your account will be placed on hold without any further charges applied to your payment method. You may call us again once you recover to reinstate your service.
- Please make sure all recyclables are rinsed well and cleaned to the best of your ability. We will take extra care in not accepting items that may harbor infectious droplets longer than normal due to the type of surface or environment that is beneficial to viruses. You may find that we left items in your bin that we would normally take. Until this has passed, we will be taking extra precautions to protect you, your fellow recyclers, and ourselves. All items should be clean anyway, as this is what manufacturers/buyers want when they take them off our hands, otherwise they just end up in the trash.
- Please use your own precautions at home after we service you. Although we are not exchanging bins between subscribers, nor are we leaving another subscriber’s materials in your bins, it would be beneficial to wipe down your bins with disinfecting wipes or spray such as Lysol®, or Clorox®. You can also use a homemade solution of bleach and water: 4 teaspoons of bleach to 1 quart of water. Do not mix other cleaning agents with this solution, be sure to use in a well-ventilated area, and protect other surfaces from overspray. Allow to sit for ten minutes, then wipe it down again with water.
- COVID-19 is known to survive on surfaces, in ideal conditions, for up to 72 hours. Most infectious viruses do not survive long in direct sunlight and rapidly changing temperatures. If you have the ability to do so, may we suggest placing your bins on your back porch, and perhaps up against a wall to protect it from wind. This will allow sunlight and weather to disinfect the materials for you as they accumulate.
We value you as our customer and all those around us in our community. Thank you in advance for your efforts in keeping our communities cleaner, safer and healthier!