One could say: nothing has changed. Or: everything has changed. Waste Management World looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting how health care waste will be managed in the future.
For some observers, the findings are clear as day. When it comes to health care waste, some of the waste from the pandemic was overmanaged. Especially in the early months, when it was uncertain how infectious, for example, personal protective equipment was whose wearers had contact with actual or potential Covid sufferers.
In many places, any form of protective equipment was treated as hazardous, quickly reaching the limit of disposal capacity. In China, for example, during the first wave of the coronavirus, all waste generated during the treatment of Covid patients was considered hazardous and had to be disposed of accordingly. Guidelines were later changed, but in many hospitals it took until well into the second wave for the vast amounts of accumulated waste to be processed.