Domestic solid waste consists of everyday items such as packaging, disposable cleaning materials or kitchen waste.
The widespread use of disposable personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves combined with the renewed popularity of single-use plastics has led to a dramatic increase in the volumes of domestic waste generated during the COVID-19 pandemic, as highlighted in this report and by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Domestic waste items, such as cleaning materials or tissues and masks that have been used by an infected individual, may be contaminated with SARS-CoV-2. The virus may survive for hours to days on surfaces, and up to a week on a surgical mask. Domestic waste could thus potentially carry some risk of virus transmission in the absence of adequate waste management systems.
Want to learn more about waste management in the home?
- What should be done with domestic solid waste in the COVID-19 context?
- How should we dispose of used masks and other protective equipment?
- What other resources are there on solid waste management?
Author: Karin Gallandat
Review: Molly Patrick, Sheillah Simiyu, Alessandra Ginocchi
Last Update: 24.8.2020