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COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test Kit Disposal for Schools in England

LFT COVID-19 Test Kit for Asymptomatic Testing

Following the government's role out of mass lateral flow testing for COVID-19 in schools, schools will be relying on waste contractors to manage an increased amount of waste to keep schools safe. ISM has introduced disposal and recycling services for Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing kits, and the potentially contaminated waste they produce as Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) begins in schools.

From the beginning of January 2021, schools and colleges will be provided with testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE).

According to, up to a third of people who test positive for COVID-19 have no symptoms at all, meaning they can spread the virus without even knowing. Because of this weekly testing of asymptomatic pupils, students and staff will be carried out in schools and colleges using the lateral flow testing method.

The idea is that testing staff and students will support schools and colleges to operate as safely as possible using large-scale testing regularly without the need for a laboratory. Asymptomatic testing helps identify people that don't have any of the Coronavirus symptoms. Due to asymptomatic people being able to pass on the virus without knowing about it, it's important to test for this. The guidance has been developed with the Department for Education and currently applies to England only.

As a result of the new testing plans in schools, there will be a large amount of waste left over from the used kits, including potentially contaminated waste where positive coronavirus results are found.

The waste that is produced from the LFT kits is classified as offensive waste (EWC 180104) and non-hazardous chemical waste (EWC 180107) which means it needs to be stored separately from any other waste types such as general waste and recyclables.

If the LFT kits are used in a household, you can dispose of the kits in your general waste. The rules for businesses and organisations are different due to the large amounts of tests kits used. If the tests are used in a school or business/organisation setting, you require specialist waste management services to deal with the waste. By law, the waste must be segregated out into dedicated containers/sacks and sent for specialist disposal.

What is Required from Waste Contractors?

In schools to manage the waste produced from the lateral flow test kits, waste contractors must extend current collections for schools to include the waste generated from the newly introduced asymptomatic testing.

  • Providing extra wheelie bins for waste storage
  • Providing extra bin bags
  • Collecting waste regularly (frequency depends on individual schools needs)

New guidelines for dealing with the waste have been brought in to help make the testing process as safe as possible. Schools are advised to package up the waste from the testing kits into 3 distinct bin bags, and the bags should be placed into a large wheelie bin or lidded skip ready for collection.

  • LFD packaging & general waste black bag
  • Swabs, tissues & cartridges yellow bag
  • Personal protective equipment tiger bag

Any PPE worn by staff conducting the tests is also classed as offensive waste and should be placed in the yellow tiger sacks. The different types of bags should then be placed in a separate container ready for collection.

For more information about the waste classification - Government Publication - LFT Testing in Schools

How Can We Help Your School or Organisation?

ISM is fully licensed to securely collect and dispose of all types of waste involved in the Coronavirus testing process, ensuring you remain fully compliant and as safe as possible. All PPR used in the process and used testing kits are disposed of in line with waste regulations.

At ISM, we offer highly flexible services that allow us to schedule waste collection as frequently as required depending on how much testing is carried out. We can also provide one-off collections. Depending on the amount of testing carried out at your school or organisation, we can provide daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly collection schedules.

Our testing kit disposal and waste management services are available to any schools and organisations throughout the North West of England. For more information about how we can help manage waste produced from COVID-19 testing in schools, please call us on 01706 823001.

In the event your waste management provider is unable to remove and manage the waste from LFT kits or PPE, please get in touch for help.

How to Dispose of COVID-19 Test Kits at Home?

Due to the lower quantities, as compared to schools and large organisations, the rules on disposal are less strict. If you are carrying out tests at home, simply dispose of the test device and equipment in your household rubbish.

Please note that disposal advice may be subject to change based upon future waste disposal guidance.

If, for any reason, you need additional help with your LFD test kit, please contact the NHS organisation that provided you with the test kit.

ISM Waste & Recycling

Here at ISM Waste & Recycling, we are committed to ensuring our staff have a secure and safe workplace and that we are providing safe services for all of our customers in line with the government guidelines. All of our services are entirely contact-free. We have also introduced new services to help ensure our customers have safe working environments, including our PPE waste disposal services. Please call us on 01706 823001 for more information about our new services relating to COVID-19.

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