Let’s start this off by saying please, please don’t leave your mask or gloves in a shopping cart or lying around somewhere. Even a public trash can isn’t the best idea because we still aren’t 100% sure how long the virus can last on surfaces.
You may be thinking all you have to do is just toss your face mask in the trash, right? Wrong. There are some precautions we have to take to dispose of our masks properly. Don’t worry, they are super easy, and you’ll be helping out the environment by following them.
- Wash your hands before putting on your face mask and remove it carefully without touching your face.
- Make sure the garbage you throw it in is lined with a plastic bag
- It is better to bring your mask home with you and dispose of it properly than throwing it away in a public trash can improperly.
- If you are sick, place the bag into a hazardous waste container.
- If you have symptoms of the virus or you know you have been contaminated while wearing your mask, put your mask into a hazardous waste container so it can be disposed of properly. You can find them at any medical facility.
- *BONUS* Cut the strings off your mask BEFORE throwing it away.
- Unfortunately, a lot of our trash ends up in our oceans and on our beaches. Some more careless people are just tossing them in the park or on the street. Disposable masks, just like soda can plastic rings, are causing harm to some of our amazing creatures getting caught in them.
- Remember, all trash puts animals at risk. Animals of all kinds often mistake trash for food or shelter. Securely cover your garbage cans and recycling bins at home to ensure that they can’t get into them and get stuck inside.
- Wash your hands after throwing your mask away
- If you tossed your mask in your home garbage can, disinfect the areas around it in case of possible contamination.
To make disposal even easier, we’d love if each city implemented the following:
- Create general awareness of this problem, potentially by including messaging around how to properly dispose of masks in directives on their use
- Install pop-up secured bins in public places such as shopping centers for used masks and gloves
- Workers collecting the waste should follow biohazard protocols like those used to manage waste collected from health-care settings.
Okay, we’ll get off our soapbox now….Stay safe and healthy!