The uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a significant reduction in municipal waste disposal in the United States and beyond. Together with the general decline in economic activity, the reduction of separate collection and the termination of a number of state programs will lead to a crisis in the recycling industry, foreign mass media are convinced.
Although the global demand for certain types of plastics during the pandemic was supported by the increasing popularity of disposable packaging and the growing demand for medical devices, the total consumption of polymers and, accordingly, the volume of plastic waste generation will decrease. At the same time, medical waste is a hazardous waste and is not subject to traditional disposal, so it will not replenish the raw material base of the recycling industry.

Many municipalities, airlines and corporations have responded to the uncertainties regarding the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission, including the survival of coronavirus on various surfaces, by closing their collection and processing programs, as well as by taking protective measures in the area of ​​waste management. In industry-congested industries, due to precautionary measures, materials that are usually recycled are sent to landfill and incineration.

COVID-19 is classified as a Category B infectious substance in accordance with International Dangerous Goods Regulations. This classification imposes strict requirements on COVID-19 test samples and biohazardous wastes (personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, bathrobes, and any materials coronavirus-related) with strict requirements for handling, collection, separation, packaging, storage , treatment and disposal.

Medical waste should be shipped by certified carriers and processed at special facilities. Even in the usual situation, 85% of all medical waste is incinerated, although only 15% of it is considered biohazardous. And despite the fact that coronavirus is a new strain that has not been developed by standard procedures, the lack of skilled personnel, as well as the complexities associated with balancing security, cost-effectiveness and sustainable development, make it increasingly useful materials are incinerated or disposed of.