How to Treat Waste Related to COVID-19

cleaning wipes

Here’s what you need to know about disposing of waste from household and workplace cleaning, as well as if there are any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.

  • Garbage, recycling and compost collection is an essential public service and will continue as normal
  • Our facilities are also currently operating as normal.  City (NRWS) bulky item coupons will be re-issued once the Stay-At-Home order is lifted, so there is no need to use the current ones before the March 31st expiration date.
  • Our Napa Payment Center is closed to walk-in customers until further notice, so please contact us via phone or email for service questions.  NRWS/NCRWS customers will not have their collection service suspended for late payment during the emergency.  If you need to modify your service level due to COVID-19 impacts, please contact us for assistance.

As we all wash our hands and clean our houses and workplaces, here are some general FAQs:

What should we do with cleaning wipes?
Single-use/anti-bacterial wipes should be disposed of in the gray landfill cart. This includes so-called “flushable” wipes, which aren’t actually flushable and can clog sewer pipes. Certified compostable wipes are the only cleaning wipes that can go in the compost cart.

Are wipes and hand sanitizer containers recyclable?
Yes, the cylindrical plastic cleaning wipes containers can go in the recycling when empty, along with empty soap or hand sanitizer plastic bottles.

What do I do with used facial tissues – compost or landfill?
In general, facial tissues are okay in the compost. However, if you or anyone in your household is sick, used tissues should be bagged and disposed of in the gray landfill cart.

What do I do with paper towels – compost or landfill?
Paper towels go in the compost cart, unless they have been used with a non-biodegradable cleaner (in which case they should go in the trash).

Should we still place cans, bottles, cardboard and clean paper in recycling?
Yes, keep recycling!

Should we wash used food containers more than usual before placing them in recycling?
Not more than normal – please make sure they are empty and rinsed out as usual.

I’m cooking more at home since I’m sheltered-in-place – should I keep putting food scraps in the brown compost cart?
Yes, please compost all food scraps and food-soiled paper with your yard trimmings!

Where do we toss used plastic gloves and masks?
Disposable gloves and face masks need to go in the landfill cart – they are not recyclable or compostable.

Household Waste

The CDC determined the COVID-19 virus is not a Category A infectious substance, therefore solid waste from households that is or is suspected to be contaminated with the virus can be managed as it would be for the flu. In an abundance of caution, generators should ensure waste bags are tightly closed and curbside containers are not overfilled so the lids close completely. Please notify us (or your local hauler) if you know or suspect your waste is contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with any objects you suspect could be contaminated.

Business Waste

Solid waste from commercial generators may also be managed as normal unless directed otherwise by the local health department. Again, to the extent possible, generators should ensure waste bags are tightly closed and containers are not
overfilled so the lids close completely. Please notify us (or your local hauler) if you know or suspect your waste is contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Remember to wash your hands after dealing with objects you suspect could be contaminated. 

If your business needs to modify service levels during this emergency, contact us to help.

As the situation continues to evolve, waste handling measures may change. Be on the lookout for additional information from local health authorities, as well as on this site and via our Facebook and Twitter feeds.