They belong over the mouth and nose, but not in the yellow garbage can or yellow bag: Corona masks. Many people do not seem to know this, make may not care either. The German waste management industry complains: Too often, our Corona trash in the wrong garbage can.
Often end up in the operating room and FFP2 masks in the waste paper, for example, where they have no place. They must not be disposed of in the waste paper – even if the material looks like paper or the manufacturer even speaks of paper fleece. Because the fleece can contain, for example, polypropylene, a plastic fiber.
The same applies to FFP2 masks, which are made from a filter fleece. These variants and the models with the identifier KN95/N95 must end up in the residual waste, explains the initiative "Waste separation works". Under no circumstances should Protective masks in the toilet be flushed down the toilet – because unlike toilet paper, this fleece does not dissolve. Rather, masks can get tangled with other objects in the sewer system and clog the sewer system.
Corona masks: Garbage ends up in the ocean
It is also bad if the masks end up in the bushes or on meadows. The environmental organization Greenpeace has calculated that it takes 450 years for masks to decompose and disappear. And humanity uses a lot of masks and gloves in the pandemic: it is estimated that we use 129 billion masks and 65 billion gloves worldwide – per month.
Where this garbage finds its way into Rivers and oceans finds, it ends up in the food chain sooner or later. Sea turtles, for example, like to mistake masks for jellyfish, birds and fish get tangled in the tapes and die. Here's how plastic is gradually accumulating in creatures that will eventually end up as fish fillets on our plates.
Disposing of masks: the right way to do it
Although no one should start now, Corona trash to be picked up from city parks or roadsides. "You should really be careful there – it could be the mask of an infected person, after all," says Fritz Mielert of the Bund fur Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (German League for the Environment and Nature Conservation). The virus can survive up to three days on plastic surfaces.
Masks should be in the Residual waste should be disposed of – preferably well-sealed in an extra plastic bag, so that employees of disposal companies are protected from possible viruses.
Same applies to Corona rapid testsAccording to the Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Environment Agency, they should be placed in a tear-proof, moisture-resistant and leak-proof container and then in the household waste.
Corona waste: Disposing of disposable gloves properly
Disposable gloves should also be placed in extra bags in the residual waste, advise the disposal experts. The plastic they are made of is too special for the usual disposal of plastic waste in the yellow garbage can and yellow bag.
Also in the Recyclables garbage can, in some places, protective gloves should not land. Because hygienic waste is not recycled, explains the consumer advice center of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Corona: Properly dispose of waste in quarantine
households in Quarantine should dispense with waste separation and put all waste in the residual waste garbage can – tightly sealed in tear-proof waste bags. The initiative "Waste separation works" also pleads for this with a view to protecting the personnel of the disposal companies. Those who can should keep glass waste, deposit packaging and electrical and electronic waste until the quarantine is lifted and only then dispose of it.