During COVID-19, it’s important to dispose of gloves, masks and medical waste properly

by Nicole Acker on May 7, 2020

As concerns surrounding the coronavirus continue to grow, more and more people are increasing safety measures by wearing masks, gloves, and using disinfectant wipes in public. However, many aren’t disposing of these items properly causing more litter, public health and environmental hazards.

As we take safety precautions to reduce our exposure and chances of getting infected with the virus, we need to be mindful that personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, tissues and disinfectant wipes should be thrown into the trash. These personal protection items are contaminated once used and should not be placed into recycling bins.

Most importantly, these items should not be left in shopping carts, in parking lots, or thrown out the windows.  Workers are then obliged to pick up these littered items, which put them at risk of self-contamination by potentially exposing them to these germs. Take off your gloves and mask safely and throw them both in the trash or place them in a plastic bag (i.e. a baggie or store bag) until it can be put in the trash.

We are urging the public to be more responsible and not to dispose their used face masks, gloves, and wipes indiscriminately. Throw used face masks, wipes, and gloves into proper waste bins, or bring them home for proper disposal. Besides the obvious health risks, rubber gloves pose a danger to sewer systems and the environment. Gloves can wash into storm drains and block them up and can also wash into lakes, rivers and the bay causing environmental hazards.

Nicole Acker handles communications for the the Menlo Park Police Department

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