Coronavirus: Veolia introduces PPE treatment service22 May 2020

PPE treatment is carried out using Veolia's network energy recovery facilities

In light of the on-going Covid-19 situation, resource management company Veolia has introduced 'a compliant way of safely collecting, containing and treating potentially contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE)'.

Designed to maintain health and safety requirements and protect workers, the new service aims to securely manage the growing quantities of gloves, safety goggles, masks, overalls, clothes and textiles, and hard hats used during the pandemic.

Many companies have workforces, such as maintenance engineers or cleaning operatives, that are providing key services to support communities and industry, and this solution is particularly targeted at these remote workers who travel from site to site without returning to a central location.

Veolia's new service, developed by re-designing existing operations, is said to meet disposal need by managing the complete process for discarded items from the workers' home using dedicated disposal boxes. This includes safe double-bagged storage for 72 hours at a secure location followed by collection and transport to its end destination at an appropriate treatment facility. The whole process is managed by a specialist team supported by Veolia's helpdesk facility.

Veolia says that although often made from recyclable material, the form and quantity collected in this way is often too low or too complex to recycle alongside other materials, and potential contamination with Coronavirus means the equipment needs to be treated via the disposal process. Compliant disposal of materials is carried out using Veolia's nationwide network of 10 energy recovery facilities (ERF) that ensure the items are handled correctly and recover energy from the process which in turn feeds the UK electricity grid and supplies heat for communities through district heating schemes.

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s head of Covid-19 response and chief technology and innovation officer, says: "During periods of uncertainty it is important for businesses to innovate to accommodate the fast-changing needs of customers. By adapting our services we've done just that, and we can now provide a safe and compliant way of treating the unprecedented amount of discarded PPE. Using energy recovery facilities means we also generate useful electricity and heat, and save carbon emissions which helps make the service more sustainable.”

Adam Offord

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