Lateral Flow Device Testing Waste
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has updated its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that are sent to those undertaking lateral flow device (LFD) testing. The latest SOPs clarify that wastes arising from LFD testing being undertaken as an ancillary function to normal business, such as at a school or workplace that is not a registered healthcare facility and not a dedicated site for the purpose of the Test & Trace programme, are not considered to be healthcare wastes. As a result, these LFD wastes can, in agreement with waste contractors, be managed alongside other wastes arising at that location, i.e. residual (‘black bag’) wastes.
Where LFD testing is being undertaken at registered healthcare facilities and dedicated testing sites that have been established e.g. mass population testing sites, including those on university campuses, then in accordance with the legislative framework around duty of care and the consideration of the source of waste, this should be segregated and managed in accordance with DHSC guidance: Waste codes for mass testing with lateral flow antigen testing devices.
In collaboration with the Environment Agency, DHSC and Public Health England, Defra has written some guidance that will set out the appropriate management of the waste arising from LPD testing in England, as well as a Question & Answer document. This document can be found here. The Coronavirus (COVID-19): disposing of waste page on gov.uk has now been updated and includes detail regarding the disposal of lateral flow device testing waste including with residual waste from non-healthcare settings.
The Environment Agency have published Regulatory Position Statement C25: Managing lateral flow device (LFD) testing waste that sets out when you can accept LFD testing waste coded 18 01 04 and 18 01 07 or 20 01 99 without varying your permit (subject to written agreement with the EA).
The government has announced that all businesses in England are now able to sign up to the government’s free COVID-19 workplace testing programme, including those with fewer than 50 employees. Please note that businesses are encouraged to register interest by 31 March to access free workplace testing. The associated press release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-rapid-tests-for-all-businesses-for-regular-workplace-testing