The emergency state of affairs associated with COVID-19 pandemic dominated the concerns related to a significant increase in plastic use and its subsequent waste. The abrupt upsurge in the demand for plastic-based protective products for patients, healthcare employees, cleaning staff and the general public all resulted in a massive disruption in the entire supply chain of these products, with the most neglected area being waste collection, segregation, and disposal. Since most of this waste is contaminated medical waste, it is meant to be handled as a hazardous waste. As a matter of fact, the management of hazardous waste was always a grave environmental concern even before the COVID-19 outbreak.
On the other hand, plastic packaging is witnessing an increase in popularity too. Banning of reusable bags and delays in regulations to stop single-use plastic bags is also being observed. The amount of packaging waste being created as a result of the unprecedented surge in online shopping across the globe is beyond imagination.
As we look towards bravely coexisting in the current pandemic situation, the demand for various plastic products, such as single-use personal protective equipment and medical accessories will continue to increase for many months to come. The acceleration in the use of other disposable plastic products and packaging materials will also stay for longer.
It is imperative for manufacturers, policymakers, metropolitan authorities, and organizations in the waste management industry to immediately develop a joint approach to respond to this rapidly unfolding environmental catastrophe. This waste, which is mostly hazardous, might be making its way into various landfills without proper segregation and treatment.
Intertek can be of great help in this situation. Our technical experts can not only assist policymakers and authorities with the right advisory but also provide a bespoke sustainability certification solution to different organizations interested in demonstrating their commitment to minimizing landfill waste. Learn more about it at: https://www.intertek.com/assurance/zero-waste-to-landfill/