PPE becoming a growing issue for councils

The District Councils’ Network has warned that the increasing littering of face masks and plastic gloves is becoming an issue for councils who are seeing more PPE discarded incorrectly.

Council leaders say that 40 per cent of councils responding to the survey say that littering of PPE is a problem in their area. The DCN is now calling on residents to do their bit and dispose of masks, gloves and other PPE responsibly and properly by using a bin – ideally at home.

Nearly nine in 10 councils have seen an increase in recyclable waste since lockdown measures were imposed in March, with some weeks being like Christmas collections. It is believed that mass home working and a rise in online shopping are the key factors behind the increase.

Dan Humphreys, DCN lead member for Enhancing Quality of Life, said: “PPE waste is becoming a problem for many councils with more communities sadly seeing it become a normal part of litter left on the streets and in other public spaces. Not only does this blight local areas, but it also risks spreading infection. Face masks, gloves and other forms of PPE are designed to protect people from infection, but poor disposal risks doing the opposite.

“We need to express our gratitude for the magnificent effort of council waste collection teams during the hugely challenging times of the past few months, and for the vast majority of residents working hard to recycle waste and discard PPE responsibly. Keeping waste collections going has been a powerful symbol of life continuing as normal and has reassured residents that their council has continued to carry out the day-to-day services for every household across every street in the country. We would remind residents to be responsible and think carefully about how they manage and dispose of their waste, to help our waste collection crews.”