Ipswich store offering free PPE recycling to combat litter surge
- Credit: JASON ALEXANDER
The Ipswich branch of Wilko is offering free disposable face mask recycling to help combat a surge in pandemic litter.
The Upper Brook Street shop joins 149 other Wilko stores in offering the service, run by recycling company ReWorked alongside Metrisk Ltd and Scan2Recycle.
The masks, made of polypropylene fabric – a type of plastic – cannot be recycled with other goods, although will be used to make building equipment and furniture for communities in need thanks to the scheme.
It is hoped the bin will help deter what one local litter picker has referred to as an "explosion" in personal protective equipment (PPE) litter since the easing of lockdown restrictions earlier this month.
Jason Alexander, founder of Rubbish Walks, said: "There seems to have been another explosion of PPE litter again across the town.
"In one day, I picked up 28 gloves and 44 masks in the Felixstowe Road area of town. Around 40 of those masks were the plastic disposable masks, not reusable ones.
"It is so important not to litter in general, but even more so with PPE.
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"When it comes to masks, the best thing for the environment is to use a reusable one, or if you do use a disposable one, dispose of it properly.
"I think it is a great idea."
Jerome Saint, chief executive at Wilko, said he is thrilled to be offering the service at the Ipswich store.
Mr Saint said: "One of our core values is to show we care and, we understand the importance of climate change to our customers who expect us to take-action on their behalf and make better choices about caring for the environment.
“That’s why we’re thrilled to have developed this scheme, which makes it super simple for shoppers to safely recycle a product which is often unavoidably discarded as a result of us all taking steps to protect the health of everyone around us.
"What’s more, it also means we’re able to help hardworking families, communities and other businesses by turning something that we’re simply throwing away into a useful and sustainable product that can have a genuinely positive impact.”