Loraas Recycle pleads with Sask. residents not to put single-use masks, gloves in recycling

·2 min read

Alexa Mofazzali has a simple message for people in Saskatchewan: keep single-use masks, gloves and other potential contaminants out of the recycling.

Mofazzali, a digital media specialist at Loraas Recycle in Saskatoon, said the waste management and recycling service now sees about 8,100 masks and gloves put into recycling every day.

"When you're seeing 8,100 masks and gloves a day, that's 8,100 times we have to pull something off the line and put it in the garbage in a safe and protected way," she said, noting the fastest conveyor belt moves about 80 metres per minute.

"It's definitely tough," she said.

Sometimes workers see individual masks and gloves, but they also see "big bags" filled with the protective gear, Mofazzali said.

"We're not able to pull them all off right at that first pre-sort. I myself have worked closer to the back of the line, where it's a little slower, and I'm still pulling masks and gloves off frequently — like every single minute, you're pulling something off."

Not only are they clogging up the recycling system, but there's also the lingering concern of disposable masks and gloves being contaminated with COVID-19.

Mofazzali said it's "very, very unlikely" that a worker would be infected by a contaminated glove or mask because of the amount of personal protective equipment they're using, and how often they're cleaning it.

However, she also said safety is a top priority and the public needs to do its part to ensure Loraas workers can do their jobs as safely as possible, especially during a pandemic.

"They're my work family," she said.

"I would just love for everyone to come together and take this small step at home and spread this word, and just to please stop putting masks and gloves and any other contaminants in your recycling cart so we can keep my employees here safe."