‘Disturbing’ reports of PPE in recycling

The Confederation of Paper Industries has said that while it applauds the public trying to maintain levels of recycling- the rising amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) contaminating loads is putting workers at risk.  

The body said in a statement that used PPE that is wrongly included for recycling is placing essential frontline workers at further risk during this health crisis, as those collecting, sorting and handling this material are potentially exposed to the virus.

The CPI says there is evidence that some have been disposing of PPE in their household recycling

It warned that PPE should be treated 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. 

Official Defra advice first release last month states that any potentially infectious waste should be doubled bagged and stored for 72 hours before being put out of collection ( see letsrecycle.com story).   

‘Disturbing’

Director of raw materials at the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), Simon Weston said: “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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