| Environmental Columns

Watch out for pollution from disposable masks and gloves!

Since the start of the pandemic, the use of masks and gloves has been strongly recommended, and in some cases, mandatory. In response to this new reality, many single-use masks have been purchased or distributed to citizens. Before disposing of them in household waste, disposable masks and gloves must be securely placed in a bag. These products are potentially contaminated with the COVID-19 virus and should not be handled in sorting centres for everyone’s safety. Masks are not recyclable since they are made of several different materials, such as polypropylene (a type of plastic), cellulose, rubber bands and a bit of metal. Latex or nitrile gloves are also not recyclable.

For some time now, masks and gloves have been thrown on the ground in public places, such as parks and sidewalks. These materials are harmful to the environment, since they end up in sewage systems and eventually waterways such as Lake Saint-Louis and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. They can also be eaten by birds or aquatic fauna. It is therefore important to dispose of them in the appropriate places.

In an effort to reduce at the source, you can opt for washable and reusable masks, being sure to clean them after each use.

We remind you that cleaning or disinfecting wipes should never be thrown in the toilet, since they clog the pipes. They too must be thrown away in the household waste bin.

Let’s protect our loved ones and ourselves while being mindful of the environment!