During periods of uncertainty, it is important for businesses to adapt and provide a level of agility to accommodate the fast-changing needs of our customers. As we have seen a number of large companies have adapted their terms and conditions, and made tweaks to their business processes to ensure continuity and support to their customer bases.
That does not change in the waste sector. A customer of ours has a wide network of personnel including 200 engineers who work remotely visiting domestic properties every day. Due to the current situation they are wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for any visits they attend. This means that on a daily basis there is PPE waste (gloves, masks and overalls) that needs managing, since they are unable to come back to their company site to safely dispose of it, including its storage followed by collection to take it to its end destination at an appropriate treatment facility, an Energy Recovery Facility. As site visits are continuing due to the customer being a part of the key infrastructure, it is estimated that there will be 1000-2000 garments of PPE a week that needs safe disposal.
After reviewing our service line, it was apparent that we would need to tailor an existing solution to suit the need of our customer, in this case PROCYCLE was selected. PROCYCLE is typically a recycling service to accommodate previously unrecyclable content, such as crisp packets and plastic straws. Usually the quantity arising of these materials are too low to warrant a full collection scheme and are complex to recycle alongside other materials; PROCYCLE offers a solution to these issues. A box is typically ordered by the customer, filled with the specific waste stream, and then booked in for collection, where Veolia process through dedicated recycling facilities.
In this situation, we took the concept of PROCYCLE and added elements to ensure the safe storage and containment of potentially contaminated waste. PPE would be disposed of within double bags that line the box due to the potential risk of contamination of COVID-19, which would then be stored in an appropriate location. Once the box is full and 72 hours has elapsed since the last deposit, Veolia should be contacted via its Helpdesk to arrange pick up by the courier (with the appropriate Waste Carries License) from the engineers' domestic premises, who will transport it to our ERF. For every 2000 garments captured for energy recovery, it is calculated that approximately 23kg CO2 eq will be saved equivalent to powering an LED TV for over 3 weeks, making this is a sustainable route of disposal for the additional demand in PPE.
This new service name is “Personalised Procycle Energy”, an adapted solution provided to our customers which solves a real problem, enabling them to act responsibly with the management of waste generated from their operations at domestic properties. The post-back box service provided by PROCYCLE is the best system to ensure a cost-efficient, safe, and compliant service for such small volumes of waste collected from a large number of remote locations.
Are you looking for a solution for managing PPE which is at risk of contamination with COVID-19? With our PROCYCLE service, Veolia can now offer a bespoke solution for managing this type of waste from non-healthcare facilities for disposal at our ERFs.