Brighton and Hove becomes first city to install public bins to collect and recycle facemasks, gloves and other PPE

An innovative scheme to collect and recycle PPE items has been launched in the city and will help reduce litter and protect ocean wildlife.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 3:36 pm

Brighton and Hove City Council has joined forces with recycling company Reworked to provide PPE recycling bins and hand sanitiser stations in busy areas of the city centre, including the popular SEA LIFE Centre, Komedia and i360.

Brighton and Hove is the first city in the country to install the bins in public places.

Residents and visitors can use the bins to dispose of used and unwanted PPE including facemasks, visors, gloves, protective clothing and even lateral flow tests.

Councillor Jamie Lloyd and Brighton SEA LIFE centre manager Neil Harris with one of the new recycling bins

The bins have been funded from the Government and European Union’s ‘Welcome Back’ fund, which aims to ensure city centres and seaside resorts are ready to welcome back visitors safely as lockdown restrictions ease.

Councillor Jamie Lloyd, deputy chair of the environment, transport and sustain ability committee, said: “Facemasks have played a vital role in helping to keep us safe during the past year, but sadly they have also added to the litter on our streets, particularly in busy areas of the city.

“It’s a particular concern on our seafront and beaches where the masks can make their way into the sea, causing further harm to our precious marine wildlife.

“We are delighted to be working with Reworked to collect used and unwanted masks and other PPE, removing them from the waste stream for recycling."

The new bins have been placed at busy locations including the SEA LIFE Centre, Komedia and the i360.

Neil Harris, general manager at SEA LIFE Brighton, said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to support such a brilliant scheme of which thousands of visitors to our attraction will see every week, driving further awareness of the fact that disposable face coverings can be recycled.

“Although legal restrictions have recently lifted, we are still pro-actively encouraging all of our guests to still wear a face covering when they visit, so the fact that they can now dispose of these in a sustainable way really re-enforces our messages to care for our oceans.

“The team here at SEA LIFE Brighton recently carried out a local beach clean, collecting over 50 kilograms of rubbish in just five hours and a high proportion of this include disposable face coverings – we really hope that this new initiative will encourage more people to consider how they can dispose of their personal protective equipment in the future.”

Once the bins are full, Reworked will collect and recycle the PPE to create hardwearing plastic boards.

Cllr Lloyd added: "It’s really important that only masks gloves and other PPE are dropped off into the recycling bins, and that residents and visitors use our litter and general recycling bins for other waste."

Accepted items for PPE recycling bins:

Disposable face masks

Plastic Gloves

Visors and face screens

Safety gear (helmets, bump caps)

Goggles and safety spectacles

Earplugs

Plastic overalls and clothing covers

Lateral flow tests (to be placed within the plastic/foil bag it comes in)