Please Don’t Recycle Your Face Masks and Gloves

latex gloves

In the midst of a global pandemic it’s not surprising that the use of disposable face masks and gloves have been on the rise. While these items of personal protective equipment (PPE) are helping to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, they are also causing problems for our waste streams when disposed of improperly. All face masks, gloves and other PPE should be tossed in the garbage whether they have been used or not.

Face masks, gloves and other PPE items can transport the coronavirus. When these items are tossed into the recycling, they are taken to a Materials Recovery Facility to be sorted by material type. Sanitation workers at these facilities must remove these items from the sorting line — often by hand — because they are not recyclable. In addition, disposable masks with their elastic bands are more likely to get snagged in machinery where they will have to be removed by workers. These points of physical contact unnecessarily increase the chance of workers contracting the virus.

Please keep our essential sanitation works safe by disposing PPE items in the garbage and not recycle them.