Protect and respect all key workers

Date published: 30 March 2020

Environment Minister Edwin Poots has urged people to help protect and respect all key workers including those collecting and empting our bins during the Covid-19 crisis.

Covid-19 News

The Minister has also issued new guidelines on what to do with your personal waste including used tissues and protective gloves if you are self-isolating with the virus.

“We must protect all our essential workers during this unprecedented public health emergency, not least the men and women who ensure our waste is collected and safely processed,” said Minister Poots.

“You can do this by taking a few simple extra steps when dealing with your rubbish or recycling waste such as washing your hands before and after putting your bins out and bringing them in. No used tissues in recycling bins. There are people sorting your waste - please respect their health and safety.

“It’s also very important that if you are self-isolating with the virus that you treat and bag your personal waste like protective gloves, cleaning wipes or cloths and used tissues differently to your normal waste. Let’s keep everyone safe,” he added.

The new guidelines on dealing with waste includes:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling your wheelie and recycling bins/boxes.
  • Put cloths, wipes and gloves used for cleaning the general waste bin.
  • Do not put tissues in your recycling bins or boxes - there are people sorting your waste, please respect their health and safety.
  • Always disinfect the handles of your wheelie and recycling bins before and after collection.

If you are self-isolating:

  • Place personal waste, used tissues, and disposable cleaning cloths or gloves in disposable rubbish bags.
  • Put that bag into a second bag, tie them securely and kept separate from other waste for 72 hours before putting into your usual external general household waste bin.
  • Also make sure to keep this waste away from children and pets

Always remember to keep at least two metres (six feet) away from your waste collectors.

You can get more information on the nidirect website at:

Notes to editors: 

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