Please Don’t Recycle Your Face Masks and Gloves

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In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s not surprising that the use of disposable face masks and gloves has 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 or not they have been used.

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 have to 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.

Help keep our essential sanitation workers safe by disposing of all face masks, gloves and other PPE in the garbage whether or not they have been used.