Hygienic waste bin for used masks. Photo: Metsä Board
Hygienic disposal of masks
Whether they’re paper or material, or FFP2 or KN95, masks have become a normal part of everyday life in many countries throughout the world. For reasons of hygiene and in order to provide better protection against the COVID-19 virus, it is advised that the masks are cleaned regularly and to dispose of them if they cannot be cleaned, as far as is possible. However, masks are increasingly popping up on pavements, bus seats or in parks.
The packaging industry has shown how it can quickly come up with and implement creative solutions to fight the virus via a variety of different paths during the corona pandemic. For example, packaging machines have been converted for mask production or to make coronavirus testing kits in record time.
Now another company from the industry has come up with an innovative solution to the waste issue caused by face masks. A Finnish company, Metsä Board, which manufactures folding boxes, recently presented a corrugated cardboard bin for hygienic disposal of masks intended specifically for use in interiors, such as in trains, stations, offices and businesses. The waste bin is flat-packed to save space for transportation and storage and can easily be assembled when needed by the consumer. If you don’t manage it straight away, instructions are printed on the cardboard surface. When it is full, the waste bin can be hygienically sealed by putting on the lid and disposed of with normal rubbish.
The masks are disposed of in special waste bins from Metsä Board and are then burned with normal waste. Photo: Metsä Board
DO NOT RECYCLE FACE MASKS
In June 2020, the German Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer demanded a recycling concept from Deutsche Bahn for used face masks. Thomas Probst from the bvse recycling association set us straight: Currently, he sees no necessity for a separate recycling collection of face masks. Fabric masks can be washed and reused. Once they are worn out, they belong in the normal rubbish bin, and are burned with normal rubbish thereafter, according to Probst in an interview with the taz, the daily newspaper. However you dispose of masks, one thing is clear - they shouldn’t become litter.