Coronavirus: Don't put used tissues in recycling bins

Blue and brown bin collections in the Belfast City Council area have been suspended immediately

People who are self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic must double bag their tissues, cleaning cloths or gloves and keep them separate from other waste for 72 hours.

Environment minister Edwin Poots yesterday issued new guidelines on how to deal with personal waste, including used tissues and protective gloves, during the lockdown.

The new guidelines include:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling your wheelie and recycling bins/boxes
  • Put cloths, wipes and gloves used for cleaning in 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

READ MORE: Coronavirus Q and A: What do I do with my recycling?

Used tissues should not be put in recycling bins, the environment minister has said

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

Mr Poots said rubbish collectors and those who help to recycle waste must be protected during the pandemic.

“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," he said.

“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."

You can get more information on the nidirect website at:

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