wilko launches in-store mask recycling scheme
A new scheme in-store at wilko will see customers able to drop off used, disposable face masks so that they can be recycled and reused as everything from building materials to new furniture for communities in need.
Some 150 of the home and garden retailer’s stores nationwide will have special collection bins for customers to safely drop off their used single use face masks, after shopping for essential items instore.
Once full, these collection bins are then taken away by recycling specialist ReWorked, which together with Metrisk Ltd, Scan2Recycle and wilko are partnering to make the unique scheme – the first of its kind on the UK high street – possible.
Collected masks are shredded down into raw materials, which can be sustainably refashioned into products ranging from other safety materials for businesses, to building materials and even quality, durable public space furniture.
The Covid-19 crisis has seen a huge increase in the use of disposable face masks as the nation adapts its everyday behaviour around public safety guidelines. While the government has encouraged us all to dispose of face masks via general waste bins, there has been an ever increasing volume of PPE being discarded in public spaces – meaning there are often greater levels of litter nationwide in areas such as parks, beaches and high streets; impacting the life and leisure time of local communities, endangering wildlife and ultimately harming the health of the planet.
Disposable face masks are made from polypropylene fabric – a type of plastic.
An estimated 8 million tonnes of general plastic waste already ended up in the world’s oceans every year, and the impact of the pandemic will only increase those figures if PPE litter continues to increase.
wilko and its partners for this scheme hope that providing an easy way to safely dispose of used PPE will help make it easier for us all to reduce litter in the community and in turn do their bit for the planet.
Jerome Saint Marc, CEO at wilko, 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 is why we are 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 is more, it also means we are able to help hardworking families, local 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.’
The scheme is the latest in an ongoing series of measures which wilko is implementing to make a positive difference to the environment; the retailer has pledged to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2040 by signing the BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap and has joined The UK Plastics Pact, which focuses solely on reducing the use of single use plastic.
For more information on disposable mask recycling at wilko and which of the retailer’s stores are taking part, please visit https://www.wilko.com/face-mask-recycling. This scheme is a pilot and will run for three months from 1 April 2021.