More Waste Means More Work for Collectors During Quarantine
Social distancing, self-isolation, and working from home are the activities most people are doing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Several sit-in restaurants and shopfronts were closed while food delivery has taken its turn. Despite the fact that closure of shops induced people to avoid going outside and catching the virus, the amount of household waste has rocketed. Waste collectors are among the key workers who have to work harder and take the highest risks for COVID-19 infection during this time.
With reference to Republic Services, a large waste-management company in the US, the amount of household waste might increase up to 30% during home-quarantine. Meanwhile, the number of dustmen available for work is in decline. Some employees tested positive for the virus after collecting waste from risky areas while others took day-offs to spend time with their family and kids and to avoid the risk for infection. Those who remain working, as a result, need to work overtime and rigorously comply with the measures to prevent the infection.
The first easy way for us to reduce household waste and assist dustmen is waste sorting before disposal, especially sorting infected waste like used surgical masks and cleaning equipment, in order to help protect the collectors from catching COVID-19. In addition, refusing to accept plastic utensils from food delivery service or applying reusable utensils is recommended as a friendly action not only for dustmen but also the environment.