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Cambridge City Council

Residents urged to keep caring by binning bin face coverings and PPE correctly

News release from 24 July 2020

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.

The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, a partnership between Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District council, is expecting a rise in disposable face coverings in waste collections when 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, but none of these items can be recycled.

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 3 days before going into your black bin.

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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 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”

Cllr Brian Milnes, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member responsible for waste, said: “Face coverings are mandatory in shops from today (Friday 24 July), 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.”