As UK lockdown restrictions evolve, you and your colleagues may be getting ready to return to your normal place of work. If so, there are certain considerations to think about in order to ensure you satisfy the current Covid-19 guidelines and keep your workers, teammates, visitors, guests and customers safe.
Alongside practices like extra cleaning and social distancing, you may also have questions about how to manage waste such as PPE or virus test kits. Read on for some useful information on getting your workplace ready.
Our ‘Back to Work’ guide is now available to use as a resource for when your team returns to work – download your copy here.
Getting your workplace ready for reopening after lockdown
If your team is due to return to the office or another place of work such as a shop, restaurant, hotel or gym for the first time – or you want to check if your Covid safety measures are up-to-date – these are some of the issues you need to consider.
The guidelines that workplaces need to adhere to are subject to change and can vary by type of organisation. You can find the most current government advice here, with sections for different types of workplaces.
The government also advises that “increased frequency of cleaning of general room surfaces reduces the presence of the virus and the risk of contact.” Regular cleaning gives you the reassurance that you can resume operations and minimise exposure risks. To support this in Westminster, we have launched a disinfection service that covers essential touchpoint disinfection and follows Public Health England guidelines.
Reorganising your workspace
It may have been necessary to reconfigure your workspace, from marking out routes to installing hand sanitiser points. You may also have needed to remove furniture completely to accommodate social distancing. (If you have found yourself with surplus furniture/large items and nowhere to store them, you can find details of our bulky waste collection service here.)
Restarting your commercial waste management collections
If you would like to restart your waste and recycling collections, please get in touch to let us know. You can restart some or all of your collections.
Disposal of PPE and LFT waste
PPE (personal protective equipment) can include gloves, masks, aprons, wipes and cleaning cloths. Unless exempt, your staff will be wearing PPE when meeting clients or colleagues, travelling on public transport and, potentially, when moving around your office or premises. That means that a large volume of single-use PPE items will need to be disposed of, but do you know how to dispose of it properly? In fact, PPE should never be disposed of in your recycling bin. Find out how to dispose of PPE properly on this page.
If your organisation has set up a lateral flow testing (LFT) area, the waste generated from this in non-healthcare settings (schools, households, shops, offices, etc.) can be disposed of as general waste. Like PPE, it should not be treated as recyclable material. However, the rules are different for waste from healthcare environments such as hospitals, clinics and mass testing sites. Learn more about disposing of LFT waste.
Official guidance on PPE from Public Health England can be found on www.gov.uk, but our blog also has helpful information, including the collection services we offer and what happens to items after we have collected them.
Help for Westminster-based businesses
At Commercial Waste Services, we pride ourselves on offering an excellent service that’s reliable, flexible and affordable, as well as environmentally responsible. To support our local community during Covid-19, we have not charged businesses who have had to close due to strict lockdown restrictions. Our services are also 20% cheaper than competitors since we are exempt from charging VAT, which keeps your costs down.
If you need more general information about support available during lockdown, this government online tool helps you find out what support is available for you and your business.
There is also more waste management information available below (and in our downloadable guide) for specific business types, such as restaurants, offices and retail spaces.
Despite the disruption caused by lockdown, getting ready to go back to work may offer a chance to improve some of your current workplace practices. For example, if you are looking into the best way to recycle more, it could be a good time to book a waste audit. This can tell you how efficient and cost-effective your current waste management provision is.
The hospitality sector has had to adapt rapidly. For many, this has meant broadening into takeaway services and sourcing new packaging. Our waste management guide offers specialist waste management advice for restaurants, caterers, hotels and takeaways; it aims to help you deal with waste and recycling as easily and efficiently as possible.
Westminster runs a temporary al fresco outdoor dining scheme, which will be returning on 12 April and will run until the end of September. Note that current pavement licences will expire on 30 April 2021 so you will need to re-apply. Click here to apply for a new pavement licence. New licences will be valid until 30 September 2021. (It takes approximately 14 days to assess applications.)
To learn more about better waste management in the food service sector, read our case study on how we worked with Mayfair restaurant AOK Kitchen, or find out how to tackle the issue of food waste here.
Office and retail
There can be many considerations when reopening an office or retail space, from reconfiguring the layout for both workers and visitors through to cleaning and changing shifts and work patterns. For example, retail environments will need to consider queue management; this Westminster City Council queue management resource has some useful guidance.
Waste management could also be a more pressing issue than you might expect! In Westminster, space is at a premium, yet not managing waste as effectively as you can means that it takes up more storage space. This could hamper efforts to social distance, but ineffective waste management also leads to problems like vermin, untidy and blocked streets and a poor reputation in your local community. At Commercial Waste Services, we can offer help – both in terms of trusted and reliable service and by helping you find better ways to manage business waste. We can assist you in assessing, planning and reporting on your waste management strategy.
You can find out more information for offices and retailers on our resources page. It includes downloadable guides and case studies on how other businesses have improved waste management and recycling.
Back to work advice on recycling and waste management
Your organisation may have lots of actions it needs to take before you go back to work. You will not want waste management and recycling to be a concern, on top of these other considerations. We have compiled our ‘Back to Work’ guide to answer your queries – you can download it by clicking the button below.
It is also a key time to make sure we protect the environment. PPE and other single-use items (such as disposable catering ware) mean that the amount of waste has increased, but it is vital that we take action against the waste of resources and climate change. Our services can help you to increase your recycling rate, while actions such as properly segregating waste streams help improve your environmental impact. (We can also help you boost the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of your waste management at the same time.)
To get started on your Back to Work plan, use the checklist at the end of our guide. The guide also includes more information on cleaning, Covid-safe related waste disposal and safe working practices.
You can also contact us to find out more about our services.