student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Face mask recycling bins are now available across Campus

#Sustainability #Covid-19

Masks abandoned on campus floor Protect yourself with a mask; protect the environment by recycling them

Hi everyone,  

Although using a reusable mask is the most effective way to protect both ourselves and our planet, we understand that the reality is sometimes you might have to resort to a disposable to protect those around you. We want to ensure that when this is the case, you can dispose of these in a sustainable way. This has led to a collaboration between NUSU, the University Sustainability team and re-worked to implement recycling points for disposable masks. We have dotted these all over campus, so you are never too far away. Collectively we have the opportunity to make a difference and minimize our trace on the world by protecting our environment from any further pollution by plastic face masks. Let’s not?let face masks be a legacy of our generation.  

Where can I find a Mask Recycling Bin? 

The bins are made from cardboard and so are conveniently located in buildings to protect them from the rain.  

You can find them in:  

  • Student’s Union – Co-op entrance
  • Philip Robinson Library 
  • Marjorie Robinson Library 
  • Old Library Building 
  • Henry Daysh Building 
  • Medical School 
  • Sports Centre 
  • Dame Margaret Barbour Building 
  • Frederick Douglass Centre 
  • Park View Student Village (Common Room) 

 

Background: Why should we recycle?  

Before the pandemic, there was a big push to reduce the number of single-use plastics items we use in our daily lives, like plastic straws, coffee cups and food packaging. Now, with disposable masks being important in the fight to protecting ourselves and others against Covid, scientists are looking into the potential negative impact of disposable face coverings on the environment. One way we can help protect both public health and the environment is by recycling our disposable face coverings.  

How does it work?  

First, you can pop your disposable face mask is one of our mask recycling bins. The box of masks is then collected by Reworked and are quarantined for 72 hours in their factory in Hull. Then, they are sorted through, removing any unusable bits, shredded, washed, and shredded again into shiny new plastic strips.  

These strips are mixed with other recycled materials, heated at 230 degrees, to make them into plastic boards. The boards can be used as building materials, furniture or to make future bins to dispose of PPE. So, by simply popping your disposable face mask in one of the PPE recycling bins here or at NUSU or around campus you can give it a new lease of life and ensure it doesn’t end up as a landfill!