General merchandise retailer Wilko has extended its in-store facemask recycling scheme, and it estimates that by the end of the initiative it will have saved 400,000 masks from landfill.
The facemask recycling scheme started on 1 April, but it has proved no joke for consumers, who have used the service to drop-off PPE that otherwise would have gone in the bin.
Wilko said there has been such a high demand for facemask recycling that it is extending the scheme by another three months to the end of September 2021. The service will remain in place at the original 150 participating stores.
Consumers wishing to take part need to visit their nearest, participating Wilko store as part of their usual shopping trip, where they can drop their used single-use face masks into the special collection bin.
Once full, these bins are then taken away by recycling specialists ReWorked, which together with Metrisk and its Scan2Recycle offering is partnering with the retailer to run the initiative.
Masks collected via the scheme are broken down into raw fibres which can be refashioned into products ranging from other safety materials for businesses, to building materials and even quality, durable public space furniture.
While masks are no longer a legal requirement as part of pandemic regulations, Wilko is still recommending face coverings for team members and customers in busy indoor spaces.
The Covid-19 crisis has seen a huge increase in the use of face masks, and Wilko is playing its part in helping users dispose of them responsibly. Disposable face makes are made from polypropylene fabric – a type of plastic that is not regularly recycled through curb-side schemes in the UK.
Jerome Saint Marc, CEO at Wilko, said: “We know that our customers care about the environment and this scheme has proved again to us just how much.
“We’re so delighted that it’s been this much of a success and that our customers and team members are helping to reduce litter in their communities, our partners are helping to recycle the waste and that we’re able to bring it all together in our stores. It’s a little win that truly makes a world of difference.”
[Image credit: Wilko]