How to Dispose Your Disposable Face Masks – The Right Way

How to Dispose Your Disposable Face Masks – The Right Way

Face masks have become a household staple across the globe over the past year, something that none of us could have foreseen. And while we are grateful that masks protect us against unwanted germs and viruses, they are also a source of great concern for environmentalists and like-minded citizens as they are unrecyclable, and pose a large threat to our already damaged ecosystem.

According to the ACS (American Chemical Society), 129 billion face masks have been used each month throughout the pandemic. The majority of these face masks are made from Polypropylene, a type of plastic, a layer of cotton material, and a polyester/plastic layer, meaning they are not able to be recycled in the traditional sense. While we can’t recycle our facemasks, what we can do is dispose of them in such a way that they have the least harmful impact on the environment possible. First, let’s take a look at a few key indicators that tell us when we should throw away a mask:

  • The mask is visibly soiled/dirty
  • The masks are single-use and should be disposed of after use
  • You were in contact with someone who was sick
  • The mask is either damp or crumpled

Now we know when let’s move on to how to dispose of them:

  • The easiest and most effective way to reduce the harm when disposing of masks is to cut or tear the ear loops off.
  • If you were in contact with someone who is sick, dispose of the mask in a separate sealed plastic bag which is then thrown into the garbage in order to reduce risk of transmission.
  • If you are quarantining with someone who is sick, consider having your contaminated garbage disposed of by a hazardous waste management company.
  • If no one in your household is sick you can dispose of your facemasks in the regular garbage (after cutting off the ear loops of course!).

Now, you may be thinking “Why should I worry about disposing of them properly? Surely the majority of the waste comes from hospitals and large companies!”, and you would be correct. However, the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) reported that the waste generated from the use of facemasks is so immense that even 1% of masks being disposed of incorrectly would result in 40 thousand kilograms of plastic per month being dumped in nature, demonstrating how important it is for everyone to do their part in safe disposal.

Browse our large selection of face masks and other PPE today. We are doing our part to combat the negative environmental impact by planting a tree in Ontario for every 4 boxes of Premium Blue Masks sold, and you can join us by simply checking the “Add a tree to my order” checkbox during checkout!*

Whether it’s turning off the lights for an hour, planting a tree in the garden or simply going outside to enjoy nature, be sure to celebrate Earth Day with us this April 22nd 2021.

*An additional $4 will be added to your total.