Keeping your workplace clean and safe can involve a number of different elements, so we’ve broken it down into useful sections that we hope will inspire you to stay safe when heading back to work.
1. Why using a disinfection service is important for keeping your workplace clean and safe
As many businesses are reopening and preparing to resume activities, you will need to ensure that your workplace gets the attention it needs in order to be operable again after lockdown. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, new measures will have to be put into place to limit the risk of infection within businesses, including possibly the full disinfection of the property to avoid potential risk to yourself, your employees, visitors and customers.
In partnership with Veolia, Commercial Waste Services is supporting the national effort to defeat COVID-19, giving you the reassurance that you can resume operations and minimise exposure to risks caused by infections. Our new disinfection service covers essential touchpoint disinfection and follows Public Health England guidelines.
How does the service work?
- One of our team of specialists will visit your premises on an appointment basis to assess the space (space size, types of materials to be disinfected, working areas and hard-to-reach areas etc)
- Once a plan of work has been agreed, our specialist operatives will arrive at your premise and perform touchpoint disinfection (key entry points, handrails, stairs, corridors, light switches, lift buttons, door handles etc)
- We use ultra-low-volume fogging units for hard-to-reach areas
- One of our team will then follow up to ensure you are happy with the service
Our disinfection treatment and solution is available to ensure your employees, guests, visitors and customers can return to work protected and safe.
Click on the button below to download our COVID-19 disinfection service leaflet or visit the disinfection service page to request a quote.
2. How to dispose of your bulky waste when clearing out your workplace
As you resume business operations, you will likely have to make changes to how your workplace is organised in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. This might include a thorough clear-out of unwanted files and items as well as removing or rearranging furniture and work equipment to allow for the safe circulation of customers, guests, visitors and employees. If you are looking to reduce the size of your workplace and dispose of your bulky waste to accommodate social distancing measures, we can help.
What is bulky waste?
Bulky waste includes items that are too big for your standard rubbish bin or bag and cannot be presented for regular waste and recycling collections. These types of items are best collected through a bulky waste service:
- Large electrical equipment (fridges, air conditioners, washing machines etc.)
- Small electrical equipment (kettles, microwaves, lamps, TVs, coffee makers, fans etc.)
- IT equipment (phones, computers, servers, cables, photocopiers, printers etc.)
- Metal items
- Carpets, underlay rugs and flooring
- Guest room fittings ( mattresses, beds, bedside tables etc.)
- Office furniture (desks, cupboards, chairs, shelving units, sofas, cabinets, lockers etc.)
- Doors, windows and window frames
- Partitions, wood, panel board
- Radiators, boilers, water heaters
How do I arrange for a bulky waste collection?
It’s very simple and straightforward. If you need a bulky waste collection, just request one online or over the phone. Our bulky waste collections are competitively priced per 15 minutes of loading time. Collections are allocated on a first come first served basis, however, if your collection is urgent then please let us know. Click on the button below to book your bulky waste collection.
Where does the bulky waste go?
The bulky waste which we collects is sent to the Veolia bulky waste centre in Southwark. Here materials such as metals, plastics and wood are segregated for recycling. The remaining waste is shredded, making it small enough to be sent to an Energy Recovery Facility where it is used as a fuel to generate electricity.
3. Supporting the Westminster local community
Westminster City Council and Commercial Waste services have always been passionate about supporting our local communities and helping vulnerable Westminster residents find long-term employment opportunities.
As part of our efforts, we launched the Road to Work programme in 2017 in partnership with Veolia. Its goal is to engage with local charities and homeless shelters in order to recruit candidates looking to find employment. The programme combines specialised support services (like counselling, housing and advice) with flexible workplace arrangements.
While the majority of the positions offered to candidates through this programme are street cleansing or admin roles, and working with Veolia, the New West End Company and Heart of London Business Alliance we have launched an initiative employing Social Distancing Ambassadors in the West End to help reopen the city and transition out of lockdown.
Employed locally within Westminster these Ambassadors are responsible for handing out PPE to visitors, filling all 34 hand-sanitising stations between Bond Street and Piccadilly, ensuring people are social distancing as well as providing advice on how to safely dispose of masks and gloves.
Related read: ‘Road to Work’: fighting unemployment in Westminster
4. Are there changes to waste and recycling collections?
The simple answer here is no. Collections will happen as normal. Westminster City Council and Transport for London (TFL) have taken measures to help keep visitors, residents and workers safe on our streets. We have published our plans to provide new and additional space for cyclists and pedestrians in the heart of the capital to safely support the easing of the lockdown and get the economy moving again.
The council has been working to develop these important temporary proposals in conjunction with local groups and businesses. This will include the installation of 20 low-cost, temporary measures across all areas of the city.
The move will temporarily widen pavements, pedestrian areas and cycle lanes in some of our city’s most iconic locations. Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly now have measures to widen pavements, change traffic lanes into pedestrian walkways as well as provide guidance on social distancing and pop-up cycle lanes. All areas of Westminster will enable people to move safely around the city as the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
To ensure we continue to provide an excellent collection service in a manner which does not cause issues in the streets that are closed to traffic, we will be using special electric micro-sized vehicles to collect waste from businesses and residents.
These vehicles can operate safely in closed-off streets and ensure businesses and residents can use our collection services the same way as always. These small electric vehicles will collect waste and recycling bags from your business’ doorstep and take it to the larger trucks which will then travel to our waste treatment facilities.
We will operate this new method of collection in the following streets and areas:
- Oxford Street
- Regent Street
- St James’s
- Covent Garden
Keeping Westminster’s streets safe, clean and free of rubbish is one of our key objectives. Clean streets are essential in providing a welcoming place in which businesses thrive. So how should you present your waste and recycling bags for collection in these closes-off streets?
- Businesses are encouraged to reduce the need for waste and recycling collections in the first place. For advice on waste reduction please download these tips.
- Present your waste bags at the right time, 30 minutes prior to the start of the collection time. See here for your street’s designated collection time
- If your street is closed as part of the Movement Strategy please, whenever possible, use the other collection timebands outside of 11:00-23:00. Most streets have two or three everyday
- Request suppliers take items such as pallets, kegs, shrink wrap, empty boxes and crates back when they deliver supplies avoiding the need to present them for the waste or recycling collection
- Where possible, change the times when cleaners or contractors operate in your building, avoiding the need for them to present waste in the 11:00-23:00 closure period
- Switch from using single-use plastic waste and recycling bags to wheelie bin collections. Bins should be stored in a suitable in-door storage space, not on the street. These bins can be collected outside the 11:00-23:00 closure period
- Avoid presenting waste and recycling bags where it can cause obstruction. Waste should not be thrown onto big mixed piles. Please keep different coloured waste bags (red, blue etc) separate from each other. Place your rubbish bags outside your own premises as close to the building as possible. This prevents pavements from being obstructed
- Please only use the official Commercial Waste Services marked waste or recycling bags. Unmarked waste bags, such as ordinary black bags, will be enforced against as fly tipping
- Place each waste type in the correct bag. Put your recycling in the blue bags and general waste in the red bags. Make sure to properly sort your recycling and do not put any hazardous waste, batteries, sharp items or electrical appliances in the bags
- Do not exceed the weight limit indicated on the bag
- Ensure your bags are closed tightly and do not have any rips or leaks as this will stain and dirty the street
- See here for more on presenting your waste bags for collection.
If you need help with segregating your waste properly and want to know what waste goes where and in which bag, click on the button below and have a read through this simple guide.
5. How to dispose of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Disposing of PPE waste from your business is straightforward and easy, this includes items such as gloves, masks, wipes and cleaning cloths. Any PPE that has not been in contact with an infection source can be disposed of as general waste and does not need to be double-bagged. This is then sent to the SELCHP energy recovery facility for safe destruction. It is critical to note that these items are not suitable for recycling and when dealing with PPE waste, it is important to refer to official Public Health England advice and DEFRA guidance.
In a situation where PPE has been in contact with an infectious source, there are specific guidelines to follow:
- Put the PPE in a plastic waste bag and tie when full
- The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied
- It should then be stored in a safe and secure place for 72 hours before being disposed of as general waste
- PPE should be stored safely and away from children
- Do not put PPE waste in communal areas or on the street for collection
To see how we manage different types of waste and recycling and where they are sent for treatment after collection, click on the button below to view an interactive map.
View the interactive map
6. Additional resources to help your business resume operations
The City Council has a wide range of information available for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have listed the main ones below, broken down by sector.
Hospitality and food service sector:
- Reopening Westminster’s hospitality sector
- Reopening and adapting your food business during COVID-19
- Advice for food businesses
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services: working safely during coronavirus
- Food handlers: fitness to work
- Commercial waste guide for the hospitality sector
- Out-of date-beverages such as beer and cider from hospitality businesses can usually be disposed of via the sewer system. Before you do so please obtain authorisation from Thames Water first. Please see here for further information and read this article.
Office and services sector:
- Commercial waste guide for retail businesses
- Shops, branches and stores: working safely during coronavirus
- Guidance for queue management with social distancing
- How to wash your hands
- HSE guidance COVID-19 risk assessment
- 5 steps to working safely
- Westminster reopens
Bespoke reopening and business guidance:
The City Council operates a free service to help you with the full scope of requirements as you move towards reopening. The Westminster Business Unit offers bespoke appointments if you need guidance on preparing to reopen, as well as a full range of other business issues. You can book a 15-minute telephone appointment with the Business Unit online or by calling 020 7641 2070. For more information on the service, please visit our website.
Waste and recycling advice:
If you have any questions around waste or recycling and your business reopening then please reach out to us. We are here to assist you with whatever waste management or disinfection queries you might have.