April 21, 2020
A new sight and sign of the times revealed itself during a typical early morning run. It also generated a few questions. Are household personal protective equipment (PPE) a backyard biohazard in the making?
Is this safe? How are consumers supposed to handle the disposal of these single-use items?
We have learned a couple of things about covid19. This week’s study indicates that millions and millions have contracted it, yet many show no symptoms. We also know that it is highly contagious between people and through hard surfaces. This is why mass transit in our northeast corridor of is getting such scrutiny and blame for creating the intense hot spots.
Whatever else this experience teaches us, it seems easy to believe that PPE will now be a fixture in our daily lives. An inevitable part of our new normal. We could see public health recommendations, such as when we get a yearly flu shot that we should also stock up on PPE. The retail calendar would play a supportive role as PPE inventory could start coming off the delivery trucks at the same time as our Halloween goodies. It will just be another chord in the hum of our calendar year.
How about one step further? How about when we start routine travel again? Let’s say someone takes a flight and checks into a hotel. They settle in their room and are now finished wearing their PPE. Should they simply dispose of it in the hotel room’s trash can? Does the hotel need a plan for used PPE? Does an airport, etc? Should these materials have dedicated cans? Lots of policy and safety questions here.
Maybe this is not an issue. Maybe used PPE does not pose a health threat in any way. Does this now then just become an image problem? Does a company have a PR problem if unsightly PPE is casually tossed away for all to see? What message does it send if it’s in the bushes- just as in this photograph?
Nobody wants such a visual reminder of what we are all still going through. Managing this new element in our lives will be another effort of cooperation between people, companies and government. We will all be in this #ppetogether.
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