Wilko’s In-Store Facemask Recycling Scheme Has Been Extended

Since launching in April 2021, Wilko’s #ReclaimTheMask scheme has seen thousands of facemasks recycled.

Estimates predict that up to 400k facemasks could be recycled by the time the project ends.

The scheme (which encourages customers to recycle their masks) has proved to be hugely successful, with all 150 participating Wilko stores up and down the country now extending the offering until the end of September this year. Shoppers simply drop off their used single-use facemasks into the dedicated collection boxes in participating Wilko stores across the UK. 

Once full, the boxes then go to the innovative recyclers, ReWorked, who together with Scan2Recycle, – have partnered with Wilko on the scheme. 

Disposable masks are primarily made from polypropylene plastic: the additional metal nose clips, and elastic ears makes them a complicated item to recycle. The PPE waste is quarantined for 72 hours before being sterilised and shredded. The shredded facemasks go to a board mill, where they are heated to 200C+, and they’re pressed into solid sheets of recycled plastic.

These 100% recycled plastic boards are then used as building materials, are made into shelters, and some even go on to become children’s furniture, and are donated to schools across the UK.

Izzie Glazzard, the Marketing Manager at ReWorked, said: “Schemes like #ReclaimTheMask are integral to preventing PPE waste from damaging our already fragile ecosystems further. We’re able to take this hard-to-recycle plastic and completely divert it from becoming pollution, landfills & incineration.” 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, PPE pollution has become an unexpected side effect for our planet to deal with. An estimated 8M tonnes of general plastic waste already ends up in the world’s oceans each year. Now, the non-profit organisation, Opération Mer Propre, – estimates that there are more masks in the sea than jellyfish.

Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko’s CEO, said: “We know that our customers care about the environment, and this scheme has proved that. We’re so delighted that it’s been such a success, and that our customers and team members are helping to reduce litter in their communities. Our partners are helping to recycle the waste, and we’re able to bring it all together in our stores. It’s a little win that truly makes a world of difference.” 

Reworked is the innovative plastic recycling arm of the MyWaste group. Reworked specialises in the recovery and remanufacture of plastic products from the retail and consumer industries, and in ocean plastic recovery. They help to maintain a circular economy of plastic waste for brands, and they support the ocean and environmental clean-up projects, worldwide. 

Metrisk Ltd developed Scan2Recycle to reward consumers who engage with recycling, – creating positive change and a lasting shift in behavioural trends. Leveraging their partnership with ReWorked, a recycling powerhouse has been created, which delivers industry leading reporting and traceability, – ultimately helping to protect our planet for future generations.