Environment Minister Edwin Poots has urged people to help protect and respect all key workers during the coronavirus crisis.
He made a special appeal on behalf of workers collecting and empting bins.
Mr Poots also issued new guidelines on what to do with personal waste, including used tissues and protective gloves, for those who are currently self-isolating with the virus.
He said these items should be bagged differently to normal household waste.
Calling for respect for all staff, Mr Poots added: "We must protect all our essential workers during this unprecedented public health emergency, not least the men and women who ensure our waste is collected and safely processed.
"You can do this by taking a few simple extra steps when dealing with your rubbish or recycling waste such as washing your hands before and after putting your bins out and bringing them in.
"No used tissues in recycling bins.
"There are people sorting your waste - please respect their health and safety."