CPI finds evidence of PPE in recycling

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has found evidence that some householders have been disposing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through their household recycling.

While applauding the effort of the public to continue recycling, the CPI has urged the public to dispose of PPE in the appropriate way.

CPI finds evidence of PPE in recyclingPlacing used PPE in recycling poses a risk to frontline waste workers, potentially exposing them to the Covid-19 virus and the CPI has reminded householders that PPE should be treated in the same way as domestic medical waste and hygiene products such as nappies through the residual waste stream.

The Environment Agency (EA) recently released a regulatory position statement (RPS) allowing healthcare workers treating patients in their own homes to dispose of their PPE through the householder’s residual waste collection.

This waste should then be double-bagged and kept separate from other residual waste for 72 hours before being placed in the external household bin as per the government’s advice.

Director of Raw Materials at the 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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