Keep your trash safe for sanitation workers

Published 5:17 pm Thursday, March 26, 2020


Guest columnist

Everyone needs to realize that sanitation workers are on the COVID-19 front lines also. During a pandemic, people tend to forget that these workers are also essential workers. I want to personally give a shout out to them and say thank you for not “jumping ship” and doing your part. #TeamKentucky.

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Trash collection at our convenience centers and our curbside in Boyle County and our cities (Danville, Junction City and Perryville) is as reliable as any other utility we have. The COVID-19 virus outbreak has the potential to create unsanitary and potentially hazardous problems. This letter is a reminder that the critical job of managing American waste is extremely vulnerable in a pandemic. Protecting the workers who perform this work must be a top priority for citizens and public alike.

COVID-19 will generate a surge in solid medical waste such as surgical masks, empty IV bags, latex gloves, etc. Our medical treatment facilities and solid waste management have been managing medical waste safely — including wastes far more hazardous than the coronavirus — without much notice for years.

There is a related problem that isn’t easily solved. Large-scale home quarantining, combined with large numbers of asymptomatic individuals, means that at least some of the medical waste generated (including all of those masks) will be in home and office garbage and recycling bins. Nobody knows how much of a risk COVID-19 waste poses to sanitation workers. But it could be substantial.

I am asking that each resident please be responsible and make your trash safe for those who are handling it. Put personal medical waste in bags. Masks, IV Bags, gloves, etc. are NOT recyclable.  Those with curbside services should be made aware that anything left outside of your waste cart will not be picked up during this time.

As Gov. Andy Beshear has stated, “We will get through this.” Boyle County has amazing services and people who are leading us during this pandemic. I will need to give a big shout out to Wilderness Trail Distillery and Ambrabev the Still for making hand sanitizer that was not available to purchase for these workers.


Angela Muncy is the director of Boyle County Solid Waste Management.