Thunder Bay

EcoSuperior to offer mask recycling at schools during waste reduction week

Waste Reduction Week in Thunder Bay, Ont., usually involves EcoSuperior going to schools and encouraging kids to reduce their footprint on the earth.
EcoSuperior hopes to have some schools in Thunder Bay, Ont., recycle disposable face masks, along with other forms of personal protective equipment. (Robert Short/CBC)

Waste Reduction Week in Thunder Bay, Ont., usually involves EcoSuperior going to schools and encouraging kids to reduce their footprint on the earth.

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programs are a little different, but also offer a new opportunity.

While in-class programs are cancelled, and more presentations are being done outdoors, the pandemic and its one-time use waste of masks and gloves allow students to see the pandemic's impact on their waste.

Melissa Davidson, a program coordinator at EcoSuperior, said some schools are being given a box that can be used to collect used medical-grade masks, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

"Where the teachers can recycle masks for the most part, but other PPE can go in there as well. Then, those materials are essentially being packaged up into that box and then being sent off to be recycled into different types of new materials." 

Davidson said waste reduction week is a good time to look at all of the disposable items now being used during the pandemic.

She said the challenge is EcoSuperior can only support so many recycling programs at schools, so not all educational institutions will be able to participate.

"We do have some capacity left in the program still, but if it goes above and beyond what we are able to do here at EcoSuperior, we can definitely help those schools look for solutions for recycling as well."

Davidson said other details on waste reduction week can be found at www.ecosuperior.org/wrw

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