Covid self-test kits: what to do with the waste

Covid self-test kits: what to do with the waste

12 March, 2021 – Families getting to grips with Covid self-test kits are being asked to make sure they dispose of them correctly. 

Secondary schools across the county and country are providing the home Lateral Flow Testing kits for pupils, though exactly when and how may vary from school to school.

And as the kits come home, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is highlighting the Government guidance on disposing of them – once used, kit contents should go straight into standard rubbish bins.

Whether the result is positive or negative, the used items from each test – including the testing strip, swab and extraction tube – should be put in the small plastic bag that comes with the pack. This bag should then go straight into your normal rubbish bin.

The kits are not considered clinical waste requiring a special collection, nor should they be recycled.

If a test result is positive, as well as following the reporting instructions included in the test kits, people should make sure they then treat their personal waste appropriately.

The advice for any household with a confirmed Covid case or any symptoms is that tissues, disposable cleaning cloths, masks and gloves should be double-bagged and kept separate from other waste for 72 hours before going into your usual rubbish outside your house.

Full guidance on disposing of waste during Covid can be found online Coronavirus (COVID-19): disposing of waste – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

In a household without any Covid cases or symptoms, if you need to throw away used face coverings or PPE, such as gloves, put them in your ‘black bag’ waste (or a litter bin if you are outside).

Do not put them into recycling as they cannot be recycled through conventional recycling facilities. You do not need to put them in an extra bag or store them before throwing them away.

Cloth face coverings should be washed and reused to prevent and reduce waste.