A new innovation has launched to enable all types of single-use PPE to be recycled, preventing discarded items from causing serious harm to the environment.
Global recycling firm TerraCycle hopes to tackle the growing threat of coronavirus waste, such as plastic gloves and disposable masks, to marine wildlife.
PPE has become a new form of pollution, with millions of items littering the streets and being washed up on beaches around the world.
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.
TerraCycle collects and recycles PPE via its Zero Waste Box system.
When placed in public spaces, such as shops and businesses, these boxes encourage people to responsibly dispose of their PPE for recycling instead of throwing items into landfill bins or on the ground.
To recycle PPE waste in the UK, TerraCycle offers a range 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 aggregated, before being cleaned and melted into pellets.
The resulting recycled pellet material can then be used by third-parties to manufacture a range of new products, including outdoor furniture, plastic shipping pallets, outdoor decking, watering cans, storage containers and bins.
Laure Cucuron, general manager of TerraCycle Europe, said: “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.
“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.”
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.