More people are using disposable masks, gloves, and disinfecting wipes to protect themselves and their families during the current pandemic. Unfortunately, these items which give us personal protection (known as PPE or personal protection equipment) are being littered in parking lots and parks. This litter has negative impacts on the environment, especially wildlife and waterways.
It also creates a risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) to other people who come across it or pick it up to properly dispose of it. Using personal protective equipment is a good idea, but please dispose of it properly.
All of these items should be placed in a trash can after use:
• Disposable disinfecting wipes
• Disposable plastic gloves
• Disposable masks and face coverings
• Tissues and paper towels
• Baby and toilet wipes (Do NOT flush these or other wipes!)
Keep a bag (such as a small trash bag or old grocery bag) in your car and dispose of any wipes, gloves, or a mask that you used on the trip inside that bag and tie it shut. When you get home, drop your bagged disposable protective gear into your trash can. If you use washable gloves and a mask, place them in the laundry as soon as you return home.
Please bag all trash (household garbage, food waste, diapers, soiled tissues and wipes, disposable gloves and masks, etc.) before placing it into your waste cart or bin. The lid should be closed on your curbside trash container and no waste should be outside of the container (on the top of the lid or on the ground). Bagging your trash and keeping the lid on the container closed help reduce litter and protect workers.
If you see littered gloves or masks, please do not pick them up with your bare hands. Wear gloves to pick up litter and then discard your disposable gloves in the trash or wash reusable gloves. Always wash your hands after picking up any litter, even if you were wearing gloves.
Photo credit: Yevhenii Orlov | iStock | Getty Images Plus