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 environmentalist and like-minded citizens as they are un-recyclable, and posing a large threat to our already damaged ecosystem.
According to the ACS (American Chemical Society), 129 billion face masks have been used each month over the course of the pandemic. 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 onto 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 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.
This is great information. Thank you for sharing it.
I’m assuming that we are being advised to cut the ear loops so they don’t get wrapped around an animal’s neck if the mask winds up in the environment after being dumped in a landfill? I had not thought about that, and will start to do that.
Just thinking … have you thought about contacting CP24 to see about getting a spot on their morning news program to share this kind of information with a wider audience? It would be a great public service announcement since a huge number of people living in the GTA means a huge number of masks being used and discarded. It would also help to bring awareness to your company’s important role in keeping us all safe. Just a thought.
I hope you are all staying safe. Thank you for helping to keep our family safe. :0)