News release from 24/07/2020

Keep caring by binning face coverings and PPE correctly

People in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire are being asked to make sure disposable face coverings and masks are put in their black wheelie bins at home, to help control the spread of Coronavirus.

Masks and gloves should go in general waste bin - do not recycle

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, a partnership between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District councils, is expecting a rise in disposable face coverings in waste collections as they become mandatory in shops from today (Friday 24 July).

The service has already seen disposable PPE such as face coverings, masks and gloves in the blue recycling bins, despite none of these items being recyclable.

With a rise in use expected over the coming weeks, waste bosses are urging people to keep caring by disposing of the items correctly, which will help ensure recycling is not contaminated, and control the spread of the virus.

Disposable PPE can be put in litter bins outside of shops, but if there isn’t one they need to be taken home and put in the black bin.

Advice has been published on the Government’s website, and it is important to remember that if you are suffering from Coronavirus symptoms, any medical waste and PPE should be bagged separately and left for three days before going into your black bin. 

Cllr Brian Milnes, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member responsible for waste, said: “Face coverings are mandatory in shops from today so this is a timely reminder that we all need to do our bit to ensure we dispose of them properly. Washable cloth face coverings are more environmentally friendly than disposable ones, which cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. We have already seen disposable masks in our blue bins and we want to avoid a rise in their usage over the weeks ahead – which could mean recycling becomes contaminated. If we all do our bit, we can keep caring for one another and our environment too.”

Cllr Rosy Moore, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre said: “Wearing face masks and coverings will help to stop the spread of Covid-19 but they also need to be disposed of properly. PPE can not be recycled so, where possible, please choose washable and re-usable masks, but if you can't then just put them in your black bin or the nearest available public litter bin. Masks and gloves dropped as litter pose a health risk to our waste and streets teams who have been working hard throughout lockdown to keep our city clean and safe. #StaySafeCambridge”