Lateral flow tests (LFT) are used to detect Covid-19 in a quick way, usually providing a result within 30 minutes. They are part of mass testing for the Coronavirus.
If the tests are used in a household, the used test kits can simply be thrown away general waste. Do not throw them away as recycling.
However, if the tests are used in a business or organisational setting, for example in a school, university, pharmacy or office, the rules on waste disposal are different.
The City Council has set up community testing centres a in a number of venues in Westminster such as churches and leisure centres and made arrangements for the collection of LFT waste from these venues.
Government is also working with employers to pilot regular workplace testing. A number of organisations are already working through the scheme to test employees regularly on-site. This includes organisations in the food, manufacturing, energy and retail sectors. Several public sector employers including job centres, transport networks and the military are also testing regularly.
The waste from rapid testing sites such as these requires specialist management. Commercial Waste Services can help.
How should I handle LFT waste?
When you set up a rapid testing site at a business premises then please speak to us about how the LFT waste will be managed. You need to make specific plans for the handling, storage and collection of this waste. We will be happy to help you with this.
Waste produced from rapid testing sites includes:
- (takeaway) food packaging – (generated by staff on-site)
- packaging – (cardboard boxes, plastic bags, information leaflets)
- single-use PPE – (face masks, face shields, gloves and plastic aprons)
- testing kits (testing swabs and packaging/cassettes, pipette and small (6ml) testing bottles with solution, testing strip and packaging including silicon sacks
Please note that waste from rapid testing sites is NOT clinical waste
Whilst spent tests and swabs have properties that require incineration, they do not need to be consigned as hazardous infectious clinical waste.
The waste from test kits and PPE must be segregated however into two categories and stored separately before collection.
- The test kits should be placed in a transparent bag and placed in the dedicated waste container ready for collection.
- Any PPE worn by staff administering the tests is classed as ‘offensive waste’. and should be placed in yellow bags with a black stripe, so-called ‘tiger bags’. These bags should then be placed in the dedicated container ready for collection.
Packaging from e.g. take-away food and cardboard boxes containing test kits can be thrown away as general waste or recycled as normal.
Collection of LFT waste
We have a safe and reliable LFT waste collection service already in operation that is servicing the City Council testing sites and are able to offer a similar service to other sites as well.
We can supply you with the external containers into which LFT waste is gathered before collection. If you do not already have the dedicated bags we can provide these for you. We are happy to set up scheduled collections and ensure your LFT waste is taken for secure and safe treatment, giving you peace of mind that you are compliant with all waste legislation
We have made a special arrangement with SELCHP, our energy from waste facility, for the destruction of clinical waste. This ensures the total, hygienic and environmentally safe destruction of LFT waste.
We have further information around Covid-19 and waste on the following pages:
- Back to Work: Everything you need to know to return to a clean and sale workplace
- Disinfection service for business premises
- Back to work: How to dispose of PPE correctly
- General business reopening advice