Waste from quarantining households should be kept separate from the rest ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Waste collection point in Estonia.
Waste collection point in Estonia. Source: ERR

Household garbage must be collected differently from properties whose inhabitants are quarantining due to coronavirus, the environment ministry says.

This means that all waste from affected households should be placed in the one bag regardless of what it consists of, contrary to normal practice, and not separated by type. This bag should be carefully sealed and disposed in the mixed waste bin, the ministry says. At the same time, waste from an affected household should not be disposed of in the same bag as that from non-quarantining properties, the ministry says.

"Many people in Estonia have been staying at home for a few days now, and the surge in daily waste generation will be noticeable to all," ministry secretary Kaupo Heinma said.

"It is extremely important to understand that if coronavirus is diagnosed or suspected, waste will be collected in a different way." 

The ministry has also issued other related guidelines, including to wait where possible before disposing of cardboard, plastics etc. including used disinfectant bottles, until after the crisis passes. If this is not reasonable, such items should be thrown away in the self-same bag as all the other garbage.

Heinma stressed that the most important thing for those diagnosed with the virus is to keep themselves and others healthy, hence the new rules.

"Let's call this 'coronavirus waste', which has to be treated as infectious and kept separate from ordinary rubbish. But where there is no virus or direct suspicion of the virus, everything [related to garbage disposal and collection] will continue as usual."

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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