Covid-19 self-test: where to throw it away after use?

Covid-19 screening self-tests are not about to disappear from our daily lives. Some 16.9 million devices were sold in supermarkets between December 28 and January 16, according to panelist NielsenIQ. To ensure their accessibility, the government has extended their sale in supermarkets until February 15, exceptionally.

If their use has become familiar to many French people, many still wonder about the “post-test”. What to do with the swab, test cassette and extraction buffer tube after use? And if the self-test is positive, should the kit be returned to a pharmacy so that it can be treated as waste at risk of infection?

In which trash can you throw your self-test?

It is not necessary to deposit a self-test used in pharmacies. This is not actually considered as waste from care activities with infectious and similar risks (DASRI) which requires specific management before disposal.

Whether the result is positive or negative, the test should be discarded in household trash, not in a yellow or green bin. Only the instructions and the packaging box can be placed in the recycling bin.

The kit must be packed in a plastic bag

Some precautions must still be taken, to avoid, as much as possible, the risk of contamination. According to the dedicated guide from the Ministry of Solidarity and Health (source 1), it is necessary:

  • from collect the whole kit in a small plastic bag,
  • to close it if possible and then put it in a second small bag.
  • Then throw it in the household trash (grey or green depending on the municipality).
  • Then be sure to wash your hands well.

Note: some kits contain bags specially designed to collect waste.

© Ministry of Solidarity and Health

What to do in case of a positive self-test?

As a reminder, in the event of a positive self-test (when you notice two colored bands in areas C and T on the plate), isolate yourself immediately and warn those around you before going to a pharmacy or a laboratory to perform a confirmatory antigen or RT-PCR test.

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