Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): waste sector guidance

Support and information available for those working in the waste sector.

13 Jul 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): waste sector guidance

Health and safety

  • It is absolutely right that the personal health and wellbeing of those who work in the waste sector is safeguarded at all times and all employers should be taking steps to address that.
  • The UK waste industry has developed a detailed information document through the Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) Forum that provides detailed practical information on COVID19 and waste management activities.  It is based on Government advice, industry experience and current knowledge.
  • The Health and Safety Executive website FAQ pages answer many questions, both general and specific to the waste sector, on health and safety matters.
  • Any key worker who has developed symptoms can arrange a test to find out if they have coronavirus. Please visit the NHS website for more information. 
  • Guidance on the Scottish Government’s Test and Protect Policy can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Physical distancing and hygiene

  • We acknowledge that physical distancing within some workplace settings in the waste sector will be harder to maintain than others, and that for work designated as essential there may be circumstances where the 2m rule cannot be followed despite all possible steps being taken to try to maintain this.

Business support

  • We have actively engaged with the waste and resources sector to understand the specific issues that businesses in the sector are facing, and what assistance may be needed to support the restoration and recovery of the sector and the wider economy.
  • Support is available from Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland to support Scotland’s resource management sector in adapting their operations in response to COVID-19.
  • Zero Waste Scotland is also offering businesses based in Scotland one-to-one consultancy support to help them deal with the issues created through the current pandemic and help them maximise their recycling and recovery opportunities.
  • Zero Waste Scotland have developed a matching service for organisations to offer resource to local authorities during the crisis.

Household Waste Recycling Centres

  • Scottish Government and COSLA guidance has been developed with input from Local Authorities, including waste managers and SOLACE, as well as the wider waste industry, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) and SEPA. Engagement will continue with Trades Unions regarding the safe operation of sites on an ongoing basis at both local and national level.
  • The guidance offers advice to Local Authorities on the considerations involved in reopening and operating HWRCs in the context of COVID-19. However, it is recognised that decisions on such matters also need to reflect local circumstances which Local Authorities are best placed to assess.

Householders – managing waste

  • Zero Waste Scotland has published guidance on managing household waste to help ease pressure on essential services during the crisis. Please visit for more information.

Businesses - managing waste

  • SEPA have published information for waste producers and waste managers. Please visit SEPA’s hub for more information.
  • Companies must continue to meet environmental standards during the COVID-19 crisis. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has published an updated regulatory position in relation to COVID-19 and guidance documents to assist businesses to meet obligations.


Wider Scottish Government Information on COVID-19

The Scottish Government’s central pages provide a summary of its overall response to the virus and links to other published information and support.