COVID-19 Response
International knowledge sharing on Waste Management

International Call for Information

The increasing spread of COVID-19 is posing significant challenges to the waste industry, putting authorities, and waste workers under significant pressure. At ISWA, it is our duty to ensure that our members, and the wider waste management industry, have as much knowledge and information to keep our towns and cities clean and healthy. Proper waste management is an essential public service that cannot be overlooked in this time of crisis.

We ask all our members to provide any information they can provide on their responses to this crisis, how they are adapting their services, what extra precautions they might be taking.


Click to scroll down to the responses collected so far.

COVID-19: ISWA Responses



ISWA’s Recommendations


These recommendations are a result of multiple expert collaborators within the ISWA network and were created to help guide waste management practices during these difficult times. The document itself is built upon the recommendations made by ISWA to the European Commission as a response to their request for input. ISWA has been and will continue to add information from all continents on how the waste sector is responding to the ongoing Covid-19 situation.




Message from the ISWA President

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos calls to keep waste management uninterrupted, safe and focused on public health protection.



Message from the ISWA Managing Director

A message from Marc Tijhuis, ISWA Managing Director, emphasizing the need to continue with essential waste management services and thanking our members on the front lines that are helping to keep our cities clean and safe.



ISWA COVID-19 Roundtable Webinar

ISWA held its first in a series of COVID-19 themed webinars on the 29th of April 2020. The webinar series will focus on answering questions about how Waste Management can and is responding to the challenges of this healthcare crisis.


Our speakers, from the ISWA Board and Scientific & Technical Committee, discussed waste management in these unprecedented times during this 1 hour roundtable. The speakers included ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos, ISWA Vice President Carlos Silva Filho, Chair of the working group on Hazardous Waste Nicolas Humez, Chair of the working group on Recycling and Waste Minimisation Anne Scheinberg, Chair of the working group on Healthcare Waste Anne Woolridge and ISWA Board representative for the Latin American Development Network Atilio Savino.


The webinar recording is available now for anyone who could not make it to the live event.


If you would like to know more about our webinars please check our events page.



Health and Safety of Solid Waste Management Workers and Employers

ISWA, in partnership with our National Members in North America (SWANA) and United Kingdom (CIWM) discuss the latest guidelines and advice for solid waste workers and employers. This is a video of a webinar that took place on May 13th 2020. Speakers David Biderman Executive Director and CEO, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Dr Toni Gladding. Director of Research, School of Engineering & Innovation, Open University, UK / CIWM.



COVID-19: Healthcare Waste

Letter from the Chair of WGHCW

Dr Anne Woolridge, chair of the Working Group on Healthcare Waste prepared a statement, focusing on the ramifications of the potential presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in waste streams.


Read the full statement here.

WGHCW COVID-19 Statement

The Working Group for Healthcare Waste has prepared a document titled "ISWA COVID-19 Awareness Paper: Future Challenges and Solutions"


The full PDF can be downloaded here

Disposal of Healthcare Waste to Landfills

ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos offers his perspective on the disposal of healthcare waste to Landfills.



How do operate safe and healthy landfill sites? Read the ISWA Landfill Operations Guide.


During the pandemic, many countries are classifying all hospital waste as infectious, overloading the current capacity for safe disposal. Also, in many developing countries the only solution available is to dispose of healthcare waste in landfills or to store it temporarily.


ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos talks about how to properly dispose of waste in landfills during the crisis.


Download his presentation here.

WGHCW Online Meeting - Report from the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Working Group on Healthcare Waste held an Online Working Group meeting on Monday, March 23rd despite many of its members tirelessly working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing technology and expertise in places of need. 


Read the meeting summary here.

COVID-19: Hazardous Waste

Statement from the Chair of the WGHW

Nicolas Humez, chair of the Working Group on Hazardous Waste prepared a statement, focusing on the importance of maintaining operations in hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities.


Read the full statement here.



COVID-19: Communications

Communications on Waste Management

Ana Loureiro, Communications Director from ISWA member EGF, prepared a video discussing the need for clear communications on how to deal with waste during the crisis.





Country Specific Waste Management Responses

Each country is dealing with the pandemic in a way that best fits their situation and context. However, we believe that countries can still learn from each other and benefit from having more knowledge on the range of possible policies and activities that can be undertaken to alleviate the crisis. Here we list information collected from around the world, with many thanks to our National Members for their time and effort in helping us to compile this.




European Commission:


Based on the inputs received from Member States, stakeholders (including ISWA) and other services of the European Commission, DG ENV published a guidance document entitled “Waste management in the context of the coronavirus crisis“ available on the Commission website.


The document can be found here.




ISWA Member, CEWEP, has issued a statement concerning the role of Waste-to-Energy, making it clear that waste incineration safely destroys viruses at high temperature.


The statement can be found in full here.


For more information, visit




ISWA President Interviewed by CGTN

Antonis Mavorpoulos, ISWA President, was interviewed by CGTN and asked to comment on the effects of COVID-19 on the plastic waste management situation in the Asian region.


Click here to read the transcript




ISWA’s National Member in Austria, ISWA Austria has prepared a comprehensive overview of the current situation in Austria. 


The information can be found here.


ISWA's Former Managing Director, Arne Ragossnig, has also prepared a short article considering the effects and consequences of a total public lock-down on an advanced and mature waste management system and wider economy.

The article can be read here.

Watch the video here.


ISWA’s National Member in Belgium, Interafval has prepared a comprehensive overview of the current situation in Belgium. 


The information can be found here.


ABRELPE- ISWA's National Member in Brazil have prepared an overview of the current situation in the country.


The information can be found here.

ISWA Vice President Carlos RV Silva Filho Interviewed About Covid-19 Impact on Brazilian Waste Management 


Geração de lixo aumentou em áreas perifericas, diz presidente da Abrelpe


Click here to see video.

Clique aqui para ver o video.




ISWA’s National Member in Greece, The Hellenic Solid Waste Management Association (HSWMA) Austria has prepared a brief overview of the current situation in Greece. 


The information can be found here.


Thank you to Institute of Chartered Waste Managers (ICWM) ISWA’s National Member in India for providing the below information.


In India, waste management has been classified as an essential service, however, with a substantially reduced capacity. The waste workforce is operating well below capacity as the country has entered a total lockdown. Instead, community education to reduce waste and handle at source is being practiced. A lot of new awareness activities are in place.


For the waste workers who do continue to operate, they must use PPE, hand sanitiser must be given to workers, Social Distancing, No doorstep collection. Periodical check-ups are carried out to ensure operators are obliging.

The separation of masks was not common prior, but a campaign has been launched to ask the population to separate it as Domestic Hazardous Waste. Lot of IEC activities through Social Media and media are taking place for awareness raising.


For more information on waste management in India, visit


Beatrice Giordani, Vice Chair of ISWA Working Group Healthcare Waste and International Relations Director of Newster System, Italy explains how COVID19 pandemic creates new challenges in healthcare waste management in Italy.


Watch the video here.


Dan Region Association of Towns | Hiriya Recycling Park - ISWA's National Member in Israel have prepared a comprehensive overview of the current situation in Israel.


The information can be found here.


Guideline for Solid Waste Management Measures to Limit the Covid-19 Outbreak. Prepared by: GreenPlans Environmental Consultants Co. Ltd in collaboration with ISWA's National Member in Jordan - Future Pioneers.

View the Guidelines here.


National Member ISWA Lebanon gives an update on the state of Waste Management during Covid-19 in their country


Click Here for Lebanon Update


ISWA Lebanon has provided General Guidelines for Municipal Solid Waste Management Under Risks of Covid-19 Outbreak: Collection, Sorting, Treatment and Sanitary Landfilling in Lebanon.


Click here for Guidelines


ISWA’s National Member in Malaysia, The Waste Management Association of Malaysia (WMAM) has prepared a comprehensive overview of the current situation in Malaysia.


The information can be found here.


ISWA’s National Member in The Netherlands, The Royal Dutch Solid Waste Association (NVRD) has prepared a comprehensive overview of the current situation in The Netherlands.


The information can be found here (Dutch)


A translation of the main information is available here.



New Zealand

WasteMinz - ISWA's National Member in New Zealand have create special COVID-19 blogs, news and information updates for and from their members. 


Read More:

Essential Waste Definition in COVID-19 Crisis


You can register to receive these updates via email here.


APESB - Portuguese Association for Sanitary and Environmental Engineering - is ISWA's National Member in Portugal.


APESB have established a Taskforce to monitor the changes in the Waste Management due to COVID-19.


You can read their initial recommendations here.


Thank you to Romanian Waste Management Association (ARMD) ISWA’s National Member in Romania for providing the below information.


In Romania, waste management has been classified as an essential service. The full waste workforce is operating as normal and separate collection of waste continues as usual. However, waste workers now wear special PPE including overalls and masks and must stay clear of general public / passers-by.  


The general population is in lockdown, so if they need to have any bulky items disposed of, they can call the operators who will send containers. People are also asked to separate masks and possibly contaminated waste into separate bags before putting into residual waste.


For more information on waste management in Romania, visit


Waste Management and Recycling Association of Singapore (WMRAS) - ISWA's National Member in Singapore have prepared a comprehensive overview of the current situation in Singapore.


The information can be found here.

South Africa

Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) - ISWA's National Member in South Africa have prepared an overview of the current situation in South Africa.


The information can be found here.


You can also consult the COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal here.


ATEGRUS - ISWA's National Member in Spain - has provided the following information.



The Spanish government declared a state of emergency via Royal Decree 463/2020, of March 14, and has set in place measures to prevent and contain the COVID-19 virus.


Among other things, that decree requires that steps to be taken to assure the provision of essential services.


Accordingly, there have implemented extraordinary measures to guarantee that the essential service provided by the different sectors can continue, while prioritising the health and safety of the employees, customers and suppliers.


Waste management and urban/street cleaning are considered essential (at this moment disinfection is very important) are classified as an essential services.


The following information is available (Spanish only).


BOE-A-2020-3692- Royal Decree 463/2020 (Real Decreto 463/2020), of March 14, declaring the state of alarm for managing the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19.

doc BOE-A-3973-  Order SND/271/2020 (Orden SND/271/2020), includes guidelines issued by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition in coordination with the Ministry of Health in the context of the Covid-19 crisis


The Ministry of Health published a technical document, "Procedure for Street Cleaning in the Face of the Coronavirus Pandemic" (version 17 March), prepared by the Madrid City Council and the General Sub-directorate of Environmental Health and Occupational Health.







Avfall Sverige - ISWA's National Member in Sweden have prepared an overview of the current situation in Sweden.


The information can be found here.

More information can be found (in Swedish) on their website here.


UWMAC- Uganda Waste Management and Administration Confederation -  ISWA's National Member in Uganda have prepared an overview of the current situation in Uganda.


The information can be found here.

United Kingdom

Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM) - ISWA's National Member in the United Kingdom have prepared a detailed briefing document on COVID-19 and the waste management sector. This document draws on the latest guidance and understanding as at 24 March 2020 and will be updated and reissued as appropriate.


The information can be found here.


Leading experts in the UK, under the auspices of Waste Industry Safety and Health (WISH) have written comprehensive guidelines for the safe operation of waste management services during the current pandemic. These guidelines can be downloaded here.


CEGRU, Association of Waste Management Companies of Uruguay / Cámara de Empresas Gestoras de Residuos del Uruguay is ISWA's National Member in Uruguay. 



They have prepared two advisory documents (Spanish only).


Recommendations for CEGRU member companies


Recommendations for national and departmental authorities



ISWA's National Member in the North America (SWANA) has prepared a comprehensive information package for the waste industry in North America, including guidelines on control and prevention for Solid Waste Management Workers and employers.


The information can be found here.