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Covid-19 : Incineration of waste from care activities with infectious risks (WFIW) and rationalisation of WFIW

The French High Council for Public Health (HCSP) is considering the modalities of derogation from the regulatory provisions governing the direct introduction of waste from infectious risk activities (DASRI) into incineration facilities by an automated system, in a context of increased production of DASRI due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

According to the data on the production and treatment of medical waste, there has been an uneven territorial increase in their volume with the treatment situation currently tense in certain regions (Île-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est).

In this context, the HCSP recommends in particular to:

  • Continue developing all possible options (increasing the operating range of incinerators, shifting to other less saturated facilities, pre-treatment by disinfection) to maintain a secure collection and treatment system for medical waste despite their influx due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
  • Consider, as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis, an exceptional and temporary derogation to the decree of September 20, 2002 imposing the direct introduction of healthcare waste into the furnace, without human handling. It would be issued by the prefect, after consultation with the regional health agency, and would allow certain hazardous waste to be transferred to the household waste pit of incinerators, in accordance with a rigorous procedure defined in advance, after risk assessment.
  • Remind health and medico-social establishments of the possibility, in "non-Covid-19" sectors, of disposing of non-perforating waste from healthcare activities as waste that can be assimilated to household waste, except in the case of infectious risk (individual protective equipment for carers, patients and cleaning staff, protections for incontinent adults, single-use linen) according to the recommendations of the HCSP’s opinion of November 12, 2020, which remains valid.

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