The COVID-19 pandemic has left gutters, sidewalks and streets littered with disposable gloves, face masks and disinfectant wipes.
What's the proper way to dispose of this coronavirus trash? The sanitation departments of the city and county of Los Angeles have both launched social media campaigns to advise the public and businesses on what to do with these items.
In addition, frontline employees are being provided with extra protective gear -- face shields, hazmat suits and, yes, gloves -- to handle this possibly contaminated trash, said Heather Johnson with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation.
Here is some advice and guidance:
Keep It Clean: Like any form of trash or litter, don't toss it on the street, sidewalk or parkways. That exposes the public and sanitation workers to possibly contaminated items. Throw in a trash container.
Trash It: Throw those gloves, facemasks and wipes into the black trash bin (NOT the blue recycling or green waste bins) provided by the city for trash pick up. Businesses are being encouraged to add additional trash bins. Meanwhile, county sanitation officials recommend that you keep a container in your car to temporarily store those items before dumping them in a trash can.
Gloves, masks and other litter are harmful to our environment. 🌎 It's a health and safety issue too! Do your part to keep our environment healthy and clean! Dispose of trash properly. 🚮 #CleanLA pic.twitter.com/ekp5GJPnyu— Clean LA (@CleanLA) April 28, 2020
Contaminated Trash: Any garbage you think may have been exposed to COVID-19 should also be disposed of in the black trash bin -- but it should be inside TWO plastic bags tied closed with a knot. Wash your hands after tossing the bag in the trash bin.
Don't Flush Wipes: The wipes are notorious for causing blockages and sewage spills at treatment plants. The wipes -- even those described as "sewer safe" -- should be disposed of in the black bin. "No wipes down the pipes!" is a common refrain in sanitation public service messages.
Clean Your Trash Cans: You should probably take the extra step of cleaning the lid and handles of your city-issued trash bins (or any trash can). The coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces for hours and even days in some cases. That applies to those those plastic trash bins, which are accessible to passersby when left out for pick up. The city sanitation bureau says to wear gloves while you use a disinfectant to keep those cans clean.