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Disposal of our PPE waste more responsibly

1 month ago
Number of Participants: 1

If you’ve been using PPE with the express purpose of protecting yourself from COVID-19, there are special ways to dispose of your equipment. With the threat of accidentally spreading the virus a real possibility, be sure to follow this specific set of guidelines to reduce your risk of contaminating yourself, or others:

  • Place any PPE you’ve used in a plastic bag and seal it tightly.
  • Place this bag inside of another bag, and again tie it as tight as possible.
  • Keep this bag in a safe place for up to 72 hours.
  • Send it to your local waste incineration center for disposal.

It’s also important to remember to keep any waste, however well contained, away from children, outside of communal areas, and off the streets (in case it’s taken by public waste collectors).

Remember to try and dispose of waste in this manner as the last resort. Consider all your options first, and try to see if it’s possible to recycle your PPE.

These pieces of equipment are often flimsy, meaning they tend to clog machinery at recycling plants. What’s more, they also carry the risk of spreading the disease – completely negating their original purpose.

While that might all sound like doom and gloom, there are alternatives that give you the chance to dispose of single-use items without damaging the environment. For example, programs like the Zero Waste Box have been set up to collect, clean, and then repurpose PPE which would have otherwise found its way to landfills, beaches, or been incinerated.

These systems allow gloves, face masks, and other forms of safety equipment to be recycled, so long as they are made from materials such as vinyl, latex, and nitrile. Fabrics and paper materials cannot be taken (but the former are washable, and therefore reusable).

Claire Ross
Working as a Media Consultant.