PPE recycling scheme launched

An innovative scheme to collect and recycle facemasks, gloves and other PPE has been launched in Brighton & 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 the popular SEA LIFE Centre and i360.

First in the country

Brighton & Hove is the first city in the country to install 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.

Vital role

Councillor Jamie Lloyd, deputy chair of the Environment, Transport & 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.

“But 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.”

Brilliant scheme

Neil Harris, General Manager at SEA LIFE Brighton said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to support such a brilliant scheme of 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 re-enforces our messages to care for our oceans.

“The team here at SEA LIFE Brighton recently carried out a local beach clean, collecting over 50 kilograms of rubbish in just 5 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.”

PPE only please!

Once the bins are full, Reworked will collect and recycle the PPE to create hardwearing plastic boards.

“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,” added Councillor Lloyd.

Accepted items for PPE recycling bin

  • Disposable face masks
  • Plastic Gloves
  • Visors & face screens
  • Safety gear (helmets, bump caps)
  • Goggles & safety spectacles
  • Earplugs
  • Plastic overalls & clothing covers
  • Lateral flow tests (to be placed within the plastic/foil bag it comes in)

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