The Problem of Improperly Disposed Gloves During the COVID-19 Pandemic
There has been a huge increase in the use of PPE, such as plastic gloves during the COVID-19 quarantine and lockdowns. This has given rise to an increasing number of improperly discarded gloves and masks.
The Hidden Downside of PPE
This uptake in this potentially dangerous trash has been a cause for great concern for the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). More and more people are using personal protective equipment in order to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus, but this means that the amount of litter and trash has skyrocketed. SWANA urges Americans to recycle right and dispose of used PPE in the correct manner during this pandemic.
“No one should be leaving used plastic gloves or masks on the ground, in a parking lot or tossing them into the bushes,” said David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO, in a statement reported on Waste360. “Discarded contaminated PPE on the ground increases the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and has negative impacts on the environment.”
Using PPE Correctly During the Pandemic
The Solid Waste Association of North America reminds the public that it is absolutely necessary that they use fresh PPE to avoid cross-contamination. This does not mean change your gloves and throw the old ones on the ground wherever you are at that particular moment. When you change out PPW such as gloves, be sure to find a trash can that you can properly dispose of them in.
Throwing gloves on the ground, the road, sidewalk, and in shopping carts is basically creating a haven for COVID-19 to hide out in and fester. It is estimated that the particles that spread COVID-19 can last for two or more days on plastic surfaces, including discarded gloves, so this is a major concern when it comes to slowing the spread of this illness.
National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful has joined the push to encourage proper disposal of PPE such as masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes. "We have been hearing from more and more people who are seeing wipes, gloves and other related items on streets and walking trails, or being left behind near supermarkets and pharmacies," said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman in a statement. This kind of thoughtlessness is putting people’s lives in danger. There are usually trash cans in every store and most parking lots have places to throw away trash. Simply removing the gloves and throwing them in the trash is a safer way to keep yourself and others from being exposed to COVID-19.
Join the Fight to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
By taking precautions and being smart about the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves and wipes and masks, we can help keep ourselves safe as well as help protect others in our communities. Your efforts will go a long way when it comes to staying healthy during this pandemic.