Can You Recycle Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?
Short answer: NO! Even if it’s made of plastic, it’s a bad idea for you, the recycling center, and employees. Here’s why.
Even though masks have become an important fixture in our lives, we all know how relieving it is to remove the stuffy material after running errands in the summer heat.
And when it’s finally time to toss the sweaty mask, hopefully, it’s into the wash (as a reusable version). If it’s disposable, it’s our responsibility to ensure we discard it properly.
Can you recycle PPE?
Single-use masks, gloves, and other PPE are NOT recyclable and should be placed in the trash. In addition to not being recyclable, they are also a risk: it’s likely that these items have interacted with blood, saliva, or other dangerous contaminants that subject the employees sorting recyclables at material recovery facilities (MRFs) to exacerbated health risks.
Just because you can’t recycle PPE doesn’t mean they should be thrown on the sidewalk, either. Be sure to dispose of your waste in a trash can and take extra care to properly separate your recyclables from your trash. Even better, buy reusable masks instead of single-use ones and doing so is a simple way to keep the world clean and healthy as we weather the pandemic.