A recycling scheme has started for facemasks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as old covid tests.
Brighton and Hove City Council said: “An innovative scheme to collect and recycle facemasks, gloves and other PPE has been launched in Brighton and Hove.
“The council has joined forces with recycling company Reworked to provide PPE recycling bins and hand sanitiser stations in busy areas of the city centre, including at the popular Sea Life Centre, Komedia and i360.
“Brighton in Hove is the first city in the country to instal the bins in public places.
“Residents and visitors can use the bins to dispose of used and unwanted PPE including facemasks, visors, gloves, protective clothing and even lateral flow tests.
“The bins have been funded from the government and European Union’s ‘Welcome Back’ fund which aims to ensure city centres and seaside resorts are ready to welcome back visitors safely as lockdown restrictions ease.”
Councillor Jamie Lloyd, deputy chair of the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “Facemasks have played a vital role in helping to keep us safe during the past year but sadly they have also added to the litter on our streets, particularly in busy areas of the city.
“It’s a particular concern on our seafront and beaches where the masks can make their way into the sea, causing further harm to our precious marine wildlife.
“We are delighted to be working with Reworked to collect used and unwanted masks and other PPE, removing them from the waste stream for recycling.
“I hope residents will make good use of these bins as they continue to wear their masks when in busy areas and help to keep the city safe.”
Sea Life Centre general manager Neil Harris said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to support such a brilliant scheme which thousands of visitors to our attraction will see every week, driving further awareness of the fact that disposable face coverings can be recycled.
“Although legal restrictions have recently lifted, we are still pro-actively encouraging all of our guests to still wear a face covering when they visit.
“So the fact that they can now dispose of these in a sustainable way really reinforces our messages to care for our oceans.
“The team here at Sea Life Brighton recently carried out a local beach clean, collecting over 50kg of rubbish in just five hours and a high proportion of this include disposable face coverings.
“We really hope that this new initiative will encourage more people to consider how they can dispose of their personal protective equipment in the future.”
Once the bins are full, Reworked will collect and recycle the PPE to create hardwearing plastic boards.
Councillor Lloyd said: “It’s really important that only masks, gloves and other PPE are dropped off into the recycling bins and that residents and visitors use our litter and general recycling bins for other waste.”
The items accepted in the PPE recycling bin include
- Disposable facemasks
- Plastic gloves
- Visors and face screens
- Safety gear (helmets, bump caps)
- Goggles and safety spectacles
- Plastic overalls and clothing covers
- Lateral flow tests (to be placed in the plastic/foil bag it came in)