A sustainable single-use facemask recycling scheme has launched today (01 April) in 150 wilko stores across the country.
Customers doing their essential shopping will be able to bring their used disposable masks and safely place them in the collection bins at the front of the stores.
The single-use face coverings are set to be recycled into sustainable building materials, furniture and even PPE collection bins.
A rise in single-use PPE litter due to the pandemic has been a significant area of concern, with serious environmental effects of discarded masks becoming an unforeseen side-effect of Covid-19.
An estimated 129 billion face masks are used globally every single month.
In an effort to reduce the harm caused, wilko has teamed up with ReWorked and Scan2Recycle to launch an innovative scheme to recycle the single-use facemasks, titled #ReclaimTheMask.
‘We’re thrilled to partner with ReWorked to be the first on the high street to take positive action, recycling discarded face masks on behalf of our customers.
‘The scheme is super simple for shoppers to safely recycle a product which is often unavoidably discarded as a result of us all taking steps to protect the health of everyone around us. What’s more, it also means we’re able to help hardworking families, local communities and other businesses by turning something that we’re simply throwing away into a useful and sustainable product that can have a genuinely positive impact.’
JEROME SAINT MARC
CEO at wilko
The campaign brings new hope in light of the mountains of waste PPE reportedly found washing up on our beaches, polluting our waterways and scattered along our streets.
Scientific research suggests there are now more disposable face masks in the world’s oceans than jellyfish. Undoubtedly, providing a safe place for people to dispose of and recycle masks will positively affect the environment.
The facemask material, made primarily from PP (polypropylene, a type of plastic), is sent to Yorkshire-based recycling partners ReWorked for processing.
After a minimum 72-hour quarantine period, the PPE is washed and shredded into 5mm pieces before being mixed with other waste plastic to a specific recipe.
The shredded plastic mixture is heated to 200C+ and pressed into durable boards. The boards go on to become building materials, furniture and even bins to collect more waste plastic.
‘It’s brilliant to be working with wilko to tackle such an important and current issue. Their drive to provide this innovative service to their customers has been admirable.
‘The scheme tackles a waste issue nobody had even considered until recently. Initiatives like these can drastically reduce the amount of harmful plastic waste entering our streets, parks and oceans, affecting the health of our planet.’
Marketing manager at ReWorked
The high-street first campaign launches 01 April in 150 participating wilko stores, and will run for three months.
Click here to find out if you have a participating store near you.