A WASTE management group wants to store medical waste at an East Bendigo warehouse as it grapples with surging demand during the pandemic.
Cleanaway Waste Management wants the City of Greater Bendigo's permission to store waste collected from hospitals, aged care homes, dentists and other providers in the Matchett Drive building
The waste would be hauled into Bendigo from other parts of regional Victoria, where it would stay for one to two days before being sent down to a Melbourne factory for incineration.
The company was considering such a warehouse before the pandemic drove up demand for face masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, a Cleanaway spokesperson said.
"In this second wave we have seen a significant increase in the need for medical waste services. It has turned this warehouse from a convenience into a necessity for us," they said.
Cleanaway's national operation manager Michelle Spencer used a planning application lodged with the council to note that the warehouse would ease some of the pressure on its drivers.
"We are proposing that we use this warehouse as a depot, so our drivers don't have to spend two days a week driving from regional to Melbourne just to drop of full bins," she wrote.
Medical waste would be stored in mobile garbage bins for one day, or two at the most, Ms Spencer wrote.
"There will be no changes to the structure of the warehouse at this stage. If required we will make further applications," she wrote.
Below: The East Bendigo warehouse Cleanaway hopes to store medical waste bound for a Melbourne incinerator.
The waste would be sealed when sitting at the warehouse.
"It will be completely sealed in accordance with very strict EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) regulations and guidelines," the company's spokesman said.
Ms Spencer asked the council for a quick decision, if possible, noting the pressure the healthcare system is currently under.
The council's planning department is considering the application.
As more Victorians begin wearing face masks, Cleanaway has asked people to dispose of them in sealed bags.
Workers have noticed more masks spilling onto the ground in Melbourne since face mask restrictions came into effect in Melbourne, especially when rubbish is collected.
Bagging masks would be another way people could help prevent COVID-19's spread.
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