‘Don’t recycle coronavirus masks and gloves’

The Confederation of Paper Industries reports an increasing amount of PPE in recycling, which it notes can prove harmful to workers

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The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) urges the public not to dispose of PPE in recycling and ensure it is disposed of appropriately.

It says used PPE wrongly included for recycling can place essential frontline workers at further risk during the coronavirus health crisis, because those collecting, sorting and handling this material are potentially exposed.

Instead of recycling, the public is asked to treat PPE in the same way as domestic medical waste such as properly contained sharps and soiled hygiene products such as nappies and pads and should be bagged separately and disposed of in general waste.

Simon Weston, Director of Raw Materials at CPI, commented: “In recent days and weeks, we have received disturbing reports and images of PPE, including discarded masks and gloves in household collected recycled paper.

“Whilst CPI welcomes the continuing support of the public in recycling household material and thereby sustaining a key manufacturing sector, PPE cannot be recycled with paper and board. It is vital that such material is disposed of properly in general refuse.

“Risking the health of key workers in this way undermines the good work and sacrifice that they and the majority of the public have and continue to make to overcome Covid-19.”

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