Waste Sector Advice for Navigating COVID-19 Impact

Just one month ago, many of us in the waste organics sector made the journey to Warwickshire to join colleagues, customers and friends. We were gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Organics Recycling Group, which is part of the Renewable Energy Association (REA-ORG).

 
There was much to be proud of as organic waste operators have recycled in the region of 93 million tonnes of waste over the last 25 years, producing quality compost and digestates. ‘Carbon sequestration’ was the phrase of the day and another opportunity for our industry to grow and help protect the environment.
cycle poster

  (Image courtesy of www.fibershed.com)

As you might expect, the other big topic of conversation amongst delegates was COVID-19. It had been a close call as to whether the conference would take place, and some people had taken the decision not to attend. None of us there could have predicted the impact it has since had.

 
Some waste sites have had to make the decision to close completely due to local authorities in their area suspending green waste and food collections, others are working to reduced opening times. Change is certainly upon us all and it is critical we all live and work to the advice given by the Government, our Regulators and also our industry forums.
recycling

Waste Storage Volumes Increase

The Environment Agency have recognised that waste sites are having to adapt to changes in operations. They have issued a position statement relating to the storage of waste during lockdown and for when normal activities start to resume. We urge sites to review their Fire Prevention Plans as the risks will increase for storing more volumes of waste over a longer period of time. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exceeding-waste-storage-limits-at-permitted-sites-because-of-covid-19-rps-c2

Critical Staff Cover & WAMITAB Qualifications 

There will be some Technical Competent Managers (TCM) who either fall ill or have to self-isolate due to others in their home with symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. Some waste sites will therefore be left without their normal cover and may need extra support. In addition, there will be cases where a TCM cannot complete their WAMITAB continuing competency test due to the test centres being closed so their qualification has lapsed.   

The Environment Agency have taken a pragmatic approach about what to do in this situation. Operators should review their site Management System, ensure all staff training is complete including awareness of the permit and planning parameters.

We often find that the planning permission is stuck away in the cupboard and as staff come and go the details are not always in the forefront of daily activities. Where competency cover has expired then the Environment Agency must be informed. Sites still need to be compliant, protecting the environment and their employees. 

For those thinking about starting a WAMITAB qualification or currently studying for a WAMITAB qualification there are tools in place to ensure this process can continue. Elleteq are working closely with our candidates to ensure progress can be made.

Staff Health, Safety and Welfare During the Crisis

We have welcomed the guidance issued by the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH) on managing COVID-19 within our waste activities. The information document is informative and gives practical control measures that can be followed to help look after the physical health of ourselves, our staff and those that use our sites plus guidance for collection crews.  

WISH plan to update the guidance as and when new Government advice is issued so keep checking for updates https://wishforum.org.uk/?page_id=198

Over the last month there has been so much uncertainty and confusion over how we should be working. Many will find themselves being put on the Furlough Worker Scheme or working from home.
Working from home
With the virus heightening, stress, anxiety and social isolation will be experienced by so many more people. It is going to be critical to support your teams and continue to build and strengthen connections with colleagues as we navigate our way through.

Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) have an important role to play right now. Mental Health England are calling upon qualified MHFAs to step up and use their skills to support those struggling with their mental health and signpost them to the appropriate help both in and outside of the workplace https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/news/MHFA-England-calls-on-MHFAiders-to-support-during-coronavirus-crisis/.

At Elleteq we will continue to update you as new information is released, and we are also here to support you during these challenges. If you need specific help to respond to the impact of COVID-19 at your site, please get in touch.

Waste Sector Advice for Navigating COVID-19 Impact

Just one month ago, many of us in the waste organics sector made the journey to Warwickshire to join colleagues, customers and friends. We were gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Organics Recycling Group, which is part of the Renewable Energy Association (REA-ORG).

There was much to be proud of as organic waste operators have recycled in the region of 93 million tonnes of waste over the last 25 years, producing quality compost and digestates. ‘Carbon sequestration’ was the phrase of the day and another opportunity for our industry to grow and help protect the environment.
cycle poster

  (Image courtesy of www.fibershed.com)

As you might expect, the other big topic of conversation amongst delegates was COVID-19. It had been a close call as to whether the conference would take place, and some people had taken the decision not to attend. None of us there could have predicted the impact it has since had.
 
Some waste sites have had to make the decision to close completely due to local authorities in their area suspending green waste and food collections, others are working to reduced opening times. Change is certainly upon us all and it is critical we all live and work to the advice given by the Government, our Regulators and also our industry forums.
recycling

Waste Storage Volumes Increase

The Environment Agency have recognised that waste sites are having to adapt to changes in operations. They have issued a position statement relating to the storage of waste during lockdown and for when normal activities start to resume. We urge sites to review their Fire Prevention Plans as the risks will increase for storing more volumes of waste over a longer period of time. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exceeding-waste-storage-limits-at-permitted-sites-because-of-covid-19-rps-c2

Critical Staff Cover & WAMITAB Qualifications 

There will be some Technical Competent Managers (TCM) who either fall ill or have to self-isolate due to others in their home with symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. Some waste sites will therefore be left without their normal cover and may need extra support. In addition, there will be cases where a TCM cannot complete their WAMITAB continuing competency test due to the test centres being closed so their qualification has lapsed.   

The Environment Agency have taken a pragmatic approach about what to do in this situation. Operators should review their site Management System, ensure all staff training is complete including awareness of the permit and planning parameters.

We often find that the planning permission is stuck away in the cupboard and as staff come and go the details are not always in the forefront of daily activities. Where competency cover has expired then the Environment Agency must be informed. Sites still need to be compliant, protecting the environment and their employees. 

For those thinking about starting a WAMITAB qualification or currently studying for a WAMITAB qualification there are tools in place to ensure this process can continue. Elleteq are working closely with our candidates to ensure progress can be made.

Staff Health, Safety and Welfare During the Crisis

We have welcomed the guidance issued by the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH) on managing COVID-19 within our waste activities. The information document is informative and gives practical control measures that can be followed to help look after the physical health of ourselves, our staff and those that use our sites plus guidance for collection crews.  

WISH plan to update the guidance as and when new Government advice is issued so keep checking for updates https://wishforum.org.uk/?page_id=198

Over the last month there has been so much uncertainty and confusion over how we should be working. Many will find themselves being put on the Furlough Worker Scheme or working from home.
Working from home
With the virus heightening, stress, anxiety and social isolation will be experienced by so many more people. It is going to be critical to support your teams and continue to build and strengthen connections with colleagues as we navigate our way through.

Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) have an important role to play right now. Mental Health England are calling upon qualified MHFAs to step up and use their skills to support those struggling with their mental health and signpost them to the appropriate help both in and outside of the workplace https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/news/MHFA-England-calls-on-MHFAiders-to-support-during-coronavirus-crisis/.

At Elleteq we will continue to update you as new information is released, and we are also here to support you during these challenges. If you need specific help to respond to the impact of COVID-19 at your site, please get in touch.
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