UK looks at burning hundreds of tonnes of PPE per month to generate electricity

Nearly 15,000 pallets of unused masks and gloves could be burnt to generate energy

Big Zero Report 2022

Ministers are considering burning tonnes of unused personal protective equipment (PPE) in power plants to generate heat and electricity.

In a session of the Public Accounts Committee, Department of Health officials discussed the prospect of burning faulty or excess masks, gloves, gowns to generate energy.

Jonathan Marron, Department Director-General of Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, said: “We are currently appointing to what are called lead waste partners, commercial firms who do this as their business who will help us recycle and we are also exploring using it for waste to provide power, so we are looking at those items.

“We think we can move up to 15,000 pallets a month when we get these contracts in place, so a really significant way or seeing recycling increase and indeed using some of the product to drive power generation.”

Last month, Health Minister Edward Argar said the government was considering alternative ways to recycle PPE waste. 

Under these plans, medical face masks and other Covid PPE could be recycled to make curtains and bedsheets for hospitals.

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