With lots of businesses opening up across the country, there has been a huge rise in testing and demand for lateral flow tests. Testing is currently recommended twice a week or every three to four days depending on shift patterns (ideally Monday and Thursday, or Wednesday and Sunday). In this article, we’ll discuss what lateral flow tests are as well as how to safely dispose of them in your business and whether they can be placed in recycling equipment.
What Are Lateral Flow Tests?
Lateral flow tests are rapid test kits designed to detect coronavirus and are ideal for mass testing, for example in a business setting. Many industries do not allow for social distancing so it’s important that these testing protocols are put in place and carried out fully. With lateral flow tests, the results take just 15 minutes without having to send samples off to a laboratory for testing.
If you are taking a test, make sure to read the instructions provided carefully before starting the test. Some workplaces require you to take your own test, others have specific Covid officers trained to administer the test for you. Either way, make sure you wait for the results for at least 15 minutes before starting work or school.
How To Dispose Of Lateral Flow Tests Safely
The tests themselves, the actual device and the included implements, as well as any PPE (gloves, masks or aprons) should be put in their own waste bag after the test has been taken before being disposed of in a regular bin. Many companies prefer to do this, but they can be placed straight into a regular bin, rather than being bagged separately. This part of the test cannot be recycled and should not be placed in recycling machinery.
If there is a positive result, the test and any PPE should be placed in their own bag, left aside for 72 hours and then placed in regular waste bins. This is to ensure health and safety to all and is part of the official testing protocols. The person with the positive result should return home and book for a test at a centre for a full laboratory test. Healthcare businesses should use specific bags for non-hazardous items, including the test kits and any PPE used.
How To Dispose Of The Outer Packaging
Most tests come in a cardboard box, which is recyclable. Place with your regular cardboard recyclables or take to a recycling plant. There, waste material recycling machines or balers will break down the cardboard to make new packaging. If you have your own cardboard balers at your business, the outer packaging of a lateral flow test can be placed in them. This is also the case with the paper instruction booklet provided. Again, this will be recycled to make new paper products.
Whilst the test kits themselves must go to landfill, it’s still important to do our bit and recycle the outer packaging and paper products as much as we can. Many businesses have the facilities to recycle cardboard and paper on site with their own waste recycling equipment, reducing the costs of external recycling.
This information qualifies for most workplaces and schools. Healthcare facilities and testing centres have their own protocols which should be followed instead.
To find out more about materials that can be recycled in your equipment, and for information on the best used recycling machinery for your business, contact us today.