In the wake of COVID-19, everyone, especially essential workers, is living in a new normal of personal protective equipment (PPE) like facemasks and gloves. While PPE has become indispensable to keep businesses operating, unfortunately a large amount of these items ends up littered.
An ACS Publications article, COVID-19 Pandemic Repercussions on the Use and Management of Plastics, states that an estimated 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves are used monthly throughout the world. With so much COVID-related PPE being used yet not recyclable in blue bins, how much ends up on the streets, in the ocean, or in landfills?
To address this unintended public health crisis of potentially hazardous litter, TerraCycle Regulated Waste—an innovative waste management company –has launched an easy-to-use recycling system for single-use gloves and masks through their line of EasyPak Containers.
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Designed as a recycling system for businesses in need of a turn-key system for hazardous waste disposal, the PPE EasyPack Containers are meant to allow property managers to recycle used gloves and masks on-site, thereby allowing staff to responsibly dispose of their protective gear instead of tossing items on the ground or in the garbage.
“In this time of uncertainty, business owners are struggling to preserve their workers’ health and safety, while maintaining their commitment to the environment, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Kevin Flynn, Global Vice President of TerraCycle Operations and Director of TerraCycle Regulated Waste. “Through the EasyPak recycling program, TerraCycle Regulated Waste offers a convenient way for businesses to ensure the protection of our shared environment while maintaining workplace safety.”
To recycle PPE waste, TerraCycle Regulated Waste offers the following EasyPak containers:
- Disposable Gloves EasyPak Box – to recycle vinyl, nitrile, and latex gloves.
- Disposable Masks EasyPak Box – to recycle surgical and industrial face masks.
When full, the boxes are returned to TerraCycle Regulated Waste for processing and the collected waste will be cleaned, melted, and remolded to make new products.
All EasyPak boxes are UN-compliant and are sealed while in transit, limiting any possibility of contamination. The EasyPak containers are available for purchase through a reorder subscription program.
The boxes travel for up to a week before they are received at TerraCycle Regulated Waste facilities, where additional safety precautions are taken in accordance with CDC recommendations. The EasyPak program does not accept medical waste or biohazardous materials.