This COVID-19 regulatory position statement (RPS) applies to:

  • waste from cleaning people or places infected, or potentially infected, with coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • separately collected personal protective equipment (PPE) waste, for example used facemasks and gloves, from commercial premises and produced as a result of social distancing measures

Waste producers are not legally required to separate PPE waste from other black bag non-recyclable waste. But if they have done this so it can be collected separately, then it should be classified as Chapter 15 waste, coded 15 02 03.

If waste producers dispose of used PPE in the black bag non-recyclable waste stream, then it would be coded as normal under the relevant Chapter 20 code (usually waste code 20 03 01).

Used PPE must not be put in recycling bins.

Cleansing waste infected, or potentially infected, with coronavirus

If you have a permit to store waste coded 18 01 03* and you comply with the conditions in this COVID-19 RPS, you can store waste coded 15 02 02* with HP9 infectious properties.

If you have a permit to treat waste coded 18 01 03* and you comply with the conditions in this COVID-19 RPS, you can treat waste coded 15 02 02* with HP9 infectious properties.

You do not need waste code 15 02 02* listed on your permit if the waste is infected or potentially infected with coronavirus.

Separately collected PPE waste

If you have a permit to store waste coded 18 01 04 and you comply with the conditions in this COVID-19 RPS, you can store waste coded 15 02 03.

If you have a permit to treat waste coded 18 01 04 and you comply with the conditions in this COVID-19 RPS, you can treat waste coded 15 02 03.

You do not need waste code 15 02 03 listed on your permit if the waste is separately collected PPE from commercial premises produced as a result of social distancing measures.

Healthcare waste pre-acceptance audit

You will not need to carry out a healthcare waste pre-acceptance audit for waste coded 15 02 02* or 15 02 03.

When this COVID-19 RPS applies

This COVID-19 RPS only applies to:

  • healthcare waste facilities that are permitted to store or treat waste coded 18 01 03* and 18 01 04
  • waste coded 15 02 02* that is from cleaning people or places infected or potentially infected with coronavirus
  • waste coded 15 02 03 from separately collected PPE waste, for example used face masks or gloves, from commercial premises and produced as a result of social distancing measures

This COVID-19 RPS does not apply to any other activity, even if it is under the same legislation. You may still need other permits or licences for other activities you carry out.

Conditions you must comply with

You must comply with all the other requirements of your permit.

When storing and treating waste coded 15 02 02* you must comply with the requirements on your permit for storing and treating waste coded 18 01 03*.

When storing and treating waste coded 15 02 03 you must comply with the requirements on your permit for storing and treating waste coded 18 01 04.

If you are storing or treating any waste coded 15 02 02* or 15 02 03 you must include them in your assessment when assessing compliance with any:

  • specific permit storage and treatment limits for waste code 18 01 03* (if storing or treating waste coded 15 02 02*) and for waste code 18 01 04 (if storing or treating waste coded 15 02 03)
  • permit limits on total waste stored or treated under your permit

You must make sure your activities do not endanger human health or the environment. You must not:

  • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance through noise or odours
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest

Enforcement

A COVID-19 RPS means that the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action against you provided:

  • your activity meets the description set out in this COVID-19 RPS
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this COVID-19 RPS
  • your activity does not, and is not likely to, cause environmental pollution or harm human health

When to check back

This COVID-19 RPS will be withdrawn on 31 December 2021. After this date you must have a permit authorising the activity or have removed all waste coded 15 02 02* and 15 02 03 from the site.