WILKO has just launched the UK high-street’s first ever face-mask recycling scheme. Moving forward, single-use face coverings will be recycled into sustainable building materials, furniture, and even PPE collection bins – in partnership with ReWorked.
The new scheme will launch in 150 WILKO stores across the country, and customers will be able to bring their used, disposable masks in-store, and safely place them in collection bins at the front of the store(s).
A rise in single-use PPE litter due to the pandemic has been a significant area of concern, with serious environmental effects of discarded masks becoming an unforeseen side-effect of Covid-19.
An estimated 129 billion face masks are used globally each month, so in an effort to reduce the harm caused, WILKO has teamed up with ReWorked and Scan2Recycle (www.scan2recycle.com), and the scheme is called #ReclaimTheMask.
Jerome Saint Marc, CEO at WILKO, said: “Showing we care isn’t something we just do at wilko, it’s one of our core values. We’re thrilled to partner with ReWorked to be the first on the high street to take positive action, recycling discarded face masks on behalf of our customers.”
The campaign brings new hope for the mountains of waste PPE reportedly found washing up on our beaches, polluting our waterways and scattered amongst our streets. Scientific research suggests that there are now more disposable face masks in the world’s oceans than jellyfish. Undoubtedly, providing a safe place for people to dispose of and recycle their masks will positively affect the environment.
The face mask material, made primarily from PP (polypropylene, a type of plastic), is sent to Yorkshire-based recycling partners, ReWorked for processing. After a minimum 72-hour quarantine period, the PPE is then washed and shredded into 5mm pieces before being mixed with other waste plastic to a specific recipe.
The shredded plastic mixture is then heated to 200C+ and pressed into durable boards. These boards then go on to become building materials, furniture and even bins to collect more waste plastic.
Izzie Glazzard, Marketing Manager at ReWorked, said: “It’s brilliant to be working with WILKO to tackle such an important and current issue. Their drive to provide this innovative service to their customers has been admirable.“
She also said: “The scheme tackles a waste issue nobody had even considered until recently. Initiatives like these can drastically reduce the amount of harmful plastic waste entering our streets, parks and oceans, affecting the health of our planet.”
The high-street first campaign launches on April 1st, and will run for three months.
Find out more here: https://www.wilko.com/face-mask-recycling
And here: https://www.reworked.com