Safe and staged re-opening of waste and recycling facilities for the community

Following updated Government advice, waste and recycling facilities may reopen to the public in a safe and staged way, provided they have strict COVID19 safety measures in place, to protect community and staff.

This means that councils and other operators can recommence business and open to the public as they are ready.

Each operator should consider their particular situation when deciding when and how to safely recommence operations.  

Preparing for re-opening

Waste operators need to assess their own circumstances and make decisions about re-opening some or all waste services to their local communities. Each operator will have specific considerations, depending on their area and services. The following points may be considered in making a decision about how and when to re-open to the public:

  • Ensure you have a COVID-19 safe plan in place in accordance with public health order requirements
  • Provide clear messaging to the public to ensure they do not visit your facility if they are sick or feel unwell  
  • Display a QR code for visitor check in / check out 
  • Consider expanding opening hours to help space visitors out or introduce a booking system to limit the number of people using your services at peak periods.
  • Extended hours and/or using a booking system may also help prevent unnecessary queuing and road blockages around your site
  • Install temporary barriers (ropes, cones, concrete dividers, etc) to clearly show separate drop off lanes at your site
  • Minimise the need for the public to leave their vehicle when dropping off waste or recycling 
  • Encourage contactless payment for services 
  • Ensure that you have confirmed your supply chain arrangements to manage an increase in the amount of recyclables you may receive
  • Update the information you have available for the general public, including your website and social media pages, to let your customers know how to access your services

COVID-19 safe operations

If you make the decision to re-open your facility, the following steps should be considered as part of your COVID19 safe plan:

  • Ensure your COVID-19 safe plan is in accordance with Public Health Order requirements. 
  • Encourage good hygiene with regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Ensure all staff and site visitors understand their obligations to wear a mask, in line with public health orders.  
  • Ensure all people at your facility stay at least 1.5 metres away from others 
  • Reinforce messaging to the public that they should not visit the facility if they are sick or feel unwell.  
  • Ensure visitors use the QR code system

General site operations

Operators responsible for providing waste and recycling collection services and facilities need to activate and follow their COVID-19-safe work plans.

Plans should include the actions of storing, processing, transporting and disposing of waste appropriately, as relevant to each facility.

Plans should be assessed and revised to account for changing circumstances, such as reduced staff numbers or the loss of key personnel, with a focus on high-risk activities.

Licence holders and other entities regulated by the EPA should also have environmental risk management procedures in place to assist in minimising risks to the environment and human health and meet regulatory requirements. You must continue to immediately notify the EPA of pollution incidents and compliance issues.

Please contact the EPA on 131 555 or info@epa.nsw.gov.au early, if you have any licensing questions or issues.

Where re-opening in a safe way requires the extension of operating hours or other operational changes, waste operators should contact the EPA for further assistance. If you would like to discuss your specific circumstances, please call the EPA on 131 555.

Key contacts

COVID-19 updates

For information and advice for NSW businesses go to service.nsw.gov.au.

Health

Follow the COVID-19 health advice at NSW Health at health.nsw.gov.au.

Worker health and safety

Follow SafeWork NSW advice at safework.nsw.gov.au.  For information about transport and disposal of waste visit epa.nsw.gov.au or call the Environment Line on 131 555

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