Gloves, face masks and tons of cleaning fluids are part of these days. But all that has to be used and thrown away, the question is where?
A few months ago nobody wore a mask or latex gloves to go out in the street, today in every home is likely to have them.Their massive use is polluting the planet, can we do anything to minimize the damage?
Both hygienic and surgical masks have expiration dates. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends changing them as soon as they are wet, dirty or deteriorated, and not reusing them.
Gloves (whether latex, rubber or plastic) should also be changed often, as not doing so is often more counterproductive than wearing bare hands. Knowing how to remove them is essential, as this is the time when the risk of contamination is greatest. To avoid contact with possible pathogens, we only have to handle them from the inside; that is, from the side that is stuck to the skin.
How should we get rid of them?
All this is necessary to protect ourselves from COVID-19. They should be used according to official instructions. Unfortunately, they are not made of biodegradable materials and cannot be part of the recycling circle:
- Separate gloves, masks and protective material from other waste and put them in an insulated plastic bag.
- Put that bag in another one, which will function as a second protective layer and will be, in turn, separated from the rest of the garbage.
- While this waste is in the home, the container should be kept closed, and if possible with a lid.
- If you can handle all this waste with the hydroalcoholic gels and disinfectant wipes.
- If there is an environmental goverment body in your city, find out if there are containers nearby where you can throw that waste.
- If there is not, put the bags where you usually do it, but separate from the rest, in your own bag.
Never on the ground or mixed with other materials
Although it depends on temperature and environmental conditions, scientists estimate that the coronavirus can remain in a mask for about seven days.
They also say that its presence lasts longer on plastic than in other materials.
- Do not mix gloves with packaging, even if both are plastic.
- Do not place gloves and masks in any of the containers intended for other materials; that is: organic, containers, paper, glass or textile.
- Do not throw them in the street or in nature.
A danger to the environment
Environmental organizations such as Greenpeace agree that the health of people is aa priorityl, but regret that the fight against the coronavirus will not bring about a greener planet.
In mid-March, members of Ocean Asia found thousands of used masks on the beaches of the Soko archipelago, located between Hong Kong and Lantau, a disaster that is expected to be repeated in many other parts of the planet if the population does not become aware.