As of 31 March 2020, VKU has not reported any restrictions on garbage collection. However, depending on further developments, there may be shifts in removal days in the future. Due to the exceptional situation, the framework for working hours has been extended, and, in order to avoid contacts, employees work in shifts in some plants or, if possible, in separate rooms. Customer services such as waste advice now only take place by telephone and/or in writing.
In Germany, the question of whether waste management and waste disposal is to be classified as “systemically relevant” (which would allow employees of waste disposal companies access to children emergency care) is currently regulated differently by the federal states.
The cleanup and spring-cleaning campaigns planned in many cities and municipalities, which are coordinated by VKU as part of the Europe-wide campaign “Let’s clean up Europe”, should be canceled if necessary in coordination with the responsible authorities.
VKU has issued extensive recommendations to its member companies in the water and wastewater disposal companies, as well as for waste companies.
Waste from quarantine area
Since the transmission risk of the virus in the context of waste disposal can be classified as rather low, the usual hygienic precautionary measures for collecting and disposing of municipal waste with waste (code number 20 03 01) must be observed when handling household waste from quarantine areas. The health authorities can also order additional measures for the separate collection and disposal of certain type of waste.
According to the national pandemic plan, waste that arises from the treatment of infected people, as well as hygiene articles, used protective clothing/equipment or waste from disinfection measures, the collection and disposal are not subject to any special requirements from an infection prevention perspective ( e.g. wound and plaster bandages, laundry, disposable clothing, diapers). However, this must be disposed of separately from municipal waste.
Provision for employees
VKU recommends to its members to set up different operating sites for the disposal areas should create redundancies and enable the disposal of household waste and organic waste. The association also advices company canteens, the company premises and company building to no longer be accessible to external persons. Customer advice should also be given from home office, whenever possible.
In addition, a priority list should be drawn up for the core tasks, with a view of protecting the population. This includes giving priority to densely-populated over sparsely populated disposal areas. Regarding the different types of waste, VKU recommends that medical waste should first be disposed of, followed by organic waste, household waste, then paper and finally bulky waste. The companies could also change the emptying cycle for glass, plastic and cans/aluminum containers.