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Compulsory PPE and infected waste management

I’m fortunate to be writing this at Method HQ in Wellington, New Zealand, where our team of 5 million have done an amazing job in the fight against our invisible enemy. But COVID is going to be an ongoing concern for a long time to come around the world and it comes with the onus as individuals and organisations to make sure we’re doing everything we can to reduce the chance of transmission.

We encourage you to follow the official recommendations for staying safe in your location, such as the use of PPE and physical distancing. But we hope that you also consider the implications of these single-use items, as they pose a significant risk to both the environment and the health of those around us.

A terrifying statistic from the latest WWF Report says "If even only 1% of the masks were disposed of incorrectly and perhaps dispersed in nature this would result in 10 million masks per month dispersed in the environment" and we're already seeing them show up noticeably in waterways. You can learn more in this article from the Financial Times.

Where practicable, we encourage you to invest in reusable face masks that you can wash and reuse, but if you use single-use make sure it's disposed of correctly. Though we know that if you're reading this article, you’re likely already aware and committed to both of these things. The next step on that journey is ensuring that others are disposing of theirs correctly.

We love these reusable masks by Casetify that come with filters and for every one you buy a mask is donated to a health worker!

P Pe Red Get in touch to organise PPE bins for your workplace

Sadly, when a lot of people have an item of waste to dispose of - whether it be PPE or something else - often what they’re most concerned about is getting rid of it, not the safe or sustainable disposal method. This is why we’ve been on a 5-year campaign against desk bins, they make it too simple for people to simply put all kinds of materials into the one bin.

What’s worse is that the lack of concern around disposing of waste during a time of fear is exasperated. So to combat PPE littering we encourage you to have specialized and clearly labelled PPE bins located regularly around all of your spaces - entrances and exits, the car park, the office floor as well as end of trip areas. As well as, making sure that bins aren’t overflowing. Further, it’s important to have clear signage that tells people where they should and shouldn’t dispose of PPE, such as a sign over the recycling bin saying it’s a no-go for PPE.

We need to ensure used masks aren’t flying around in the wind, in your office or contaminating recyclables or soft plastics collection. While many of us are lucky enough to work from home as necessary, we need to ensure that we’re not making our essential workers pick up the potentially contaminated waste.

Further, the recommendation on how to dispose of PPE is different depending on where you are based, depending on the risk factor and processes in place. So we encourage you to check with your waste management providers around their PPE disposal practices to ensure the safety of their team and yours.

We know our friends at First Mile have been particularly proactive in helping their customers to treat PPE correctly.

Get in touch with your PPE collection requirements

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