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Keep the planet safe by recycling PPE waste

Published: 1 October 2020 - Victoria White

These unprecedented COVID-19 times have underscored that single use materials are still a highly reliable and affordable solution for personal protection. Although this new reality has highlighted the public necessity for these items, it has also brought into stark contrast our vulnerabilities to pollution. Between the end of February and mid-April this year, more than a billion items of personal protective equipment were given out in the UK alone. This spike in consumption is forcing us to rethink our attitude to recycling and find a sustainable solution for this kind of waste, which would otherwise end up in landfill or often simply be littered on the streets. As the leading experts in traditionally “non-recyclable” waste, TerraCycle provides a unique recycling solution for all types of single-use PPE, which aren’t recyclable through conventional recycling facilities, giving them a new life in a variety of forms.

With millions of gloves and masks being thrown away every day it’s not hard to see why conservationists around the world are sounding the alarm over where all these single-use products are ending up. Single-use PPE masks and gloves are considered “non-recyclable” types of waste in the traditional recycling systems. TerraCycle however offers a solution to collect and recycle PPE via its Zero Waste Box system - a turnkey solution to recycle hard-to-recycle waste for individuals, households, schools, businesses, manufacturing facilities, and events looking to offset their impacts and lighten their environmental footprint.

When placed in public spaces such as shops or within businesses, TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Boxes for PPE encourage people to responsibly dispose of their PPE for recycling instead of throwing these items into landfill bins or often simply throwing them on the ground after use.

To recycle PPE waste in the UK, TerraCycle offers a variety of different Zero Waste Boxes, including its latest box dedicated specifically to the recycling of disposable face masks:

When full, the boxes are returned to TerraCycle for processing and the collected PPE waste is first aggregated before being cleaned and melted into pellets.  The resulting recycled pellet material can then be used by third-parties to manufacture a variety of new products including outdoor furniture, plastic shipping pallets, outdoor decking, watering cans, storage containers, bins, tubes for construction applications, etc. 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak and safety measures put in place to protect its customers, employees and partners, TerraCycle is taking extra measures to ensure the safety of its operators.  Anyone self-isolating, quarantined or suspected of being infected with Covid-19, should not use the Zero Waste Box solution to recycle their PPE material and follow  Government guidelines on how to dispose of such waste.

TerraCycle’s PPE Zero Waste Box solutions do not accept fabric, homemade or paper face masks but can collect surgical-type masks as long as they don't come from a medical environment. As per legal guidelines, we cannot accept any medical waste, such as material contaminated with blood or bodily fluids and waste originating from health care facilities, hospitals, home care services, physicians' offices, dental offices, blood banks, veterinary clinics, research laboratories, etc.

Considering these uncertain COVID-19 times, we have increased our PPE Zero Waste Box offering, to provide more specific solutions for these objects which are now increasingly part of daily life”, says Laure Cucuron, General Manager of TerraCycle Europe. “We are proud to be able to offer all consumers a unique, easy and safe solution for keeping PPE waste out of landfills and from being littered, paving the way for a greener future.” 

Source: Industrial Compliance

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