We have often talked about how the health of the environment has affected the spread of the coronavirus but it is time to talk about the reverse process, about how the pandemic is impacting the environment, also asking ourselves where to throw the masks. One thing is certain, not on the ground, even if many seem to have forgotten the basic rules of civilization when they throw these protections on the street as if, in times of COVID-19, everything is allowed and the Earth is not affected.
Let's give everyone, even the rude ones, the benefit of the doubt, let's take a step back and explain how these types of materials are treated, so as not to leave excuses, from now on, to those who choose at this point pollute the environment not caring about all those who live with him.
Usefulness of the templates
To date, it is still not clear whether the use of masks is necessary or not and for what. Are they good for the wearer or for others? Who do they protect? They are mandatory in some territories, in others recommended, there are discordant voices even within the scientific community itself and, in this great confusion of opinions, most people who are not familiar with the subject, get a reason and wear the mask.
So many are the approaches, there are those who change one every time they come out, those who put it but not over their nose, therefore uselessly, and those who instead try to sanitize and recycle them not to consume too many. There are also many types of goggles that we find in circulation and they are made of very different materials, especially if they are made at home. However, there are those who have tried their hand at their preparation, in part to save money, in part with a hand on their conscience to leave the most effective ones to the health personnel when there were not many.
Where to throw the masks
The bad news we have to give now is that the masks that we buy must be thrown into the unsorted waste bin. Separate collection is not included in the block and in the #iorestoacasa, it is necessary to continue to do it as recommended by the same Ministry of Health but the masks are not involved if it is the ones we bought.
The most common are those born more than anything else for hygienic purposes e that before the coronavirus were used in the food industry or in catering or by some cleaning company. They do not protect the respiratory tract but there are those who argue that they are useful because they prevent the wearer from emitting droplets of saliva, the very ones that can transmit covid19 to other people who are within its range.
The surgical masks reduce the risk of infection and are mainly intended for healthcare personnel because they are considered a personal protective equipment. Certainly they protect against splashes and coarse secretions of those around us, and this is why doctors wear them, but we still do not have the certainty that they can protect the wearer even from the infected aerosol of an infected person. They also last a couple of hours and cannot be used a second time, even if disinfected.
There is also another model of mask which, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, was impossible to find if not at exorbitant prices and with a lot of waiting. I refer to those that report the FF codes from P1 to P3. The FFP2 and P3. These devices are equipped with filters and have afiltering efficiency 92% and 98% respectively but "expire" after a few hours.
All these masks, even if made of different materials, are all non-recyclable but this does not authorize us to abandon them wherever it happens or to deliberately throw them on the ground: they must be thrown in the collection of unsorted waste
A separate discussion must be made for the masks that we are going to produce, trying to follow the indications that have been given to us. However, the materials usually recommended for the construction of protective masks are rather difficult to recycle. We talk about the folders for documents, the transparent ones, to make the external part while for the intermediate part a kitchen paper towel because it appears to have similar characteristics to the middle layer of the surgical mask. There is also the inner layer, made of a three-layer / four-layer facial tissue. As you imagine, masks constructed in this way become really difficult to recycle and end up undifferentiated like the others, unless you break them down and throw at least the outer layer in the plastic.
Where to throw the gloves
Also gloves they can be of different types and materials but here the good news is and is that sometimes they can be recycled.
Let's find out the many varieties that exist for this protection which, next to the mask, could accompany us in phase 2 for the coming months, months that will be characterized, it seems, by a very gradual and always loosening of the restrictive measures. with masks, gloves and disinfectant in hand. And the social distance that will affect our new daily life. Among the many gloves that we find around, three are the most frequently sold and used, those in vinyl, those in nitrile and those in latex.
The vinyl gloves are from polyvinyl chloride, the famous PVC, therefore destined to be recycled together with plastic in separate collection. These are professional gloves, not particularly resistant and sensitive but with the advantage of being malleable, moldable, soft and elastic thanks to their "plastic" nature -
Gloves in nitrile they go unsorted because there is really no way to dispose of them with a specific recycling process. This is related to the fact that nitrile is produced from a organic compound, therefore it cannot be destined for recycling and therefore for partial or total reuse. It is none other than one elastic synthetic rubber with a high mechanical and chemical resistance, sensitivity and ergonomics. These are gloves often used by those who have to work and hold food in their hands for work, so as not to "dirty them" or for those who are handling chemicals and / or body fluids and in this case they must protect them.
Even the third and last type of gloves we are talking about cannot be thrown away except in the undifferentiated collection. They are gloves latex, biodegradable material chosen because it ensures a high level of sensitivity, elasticity and impermeability. They have similar characteristics to plastic gloves but, even if latex is a natural product, because it is obtained from the bark of rubber trees, it cannot be recycled.
You may also be interested in related articles:
- How to sanitize the masks to reuse them
- How to make a DIY antivirus mask