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PPE Waste Adds to Destruction of Our Oceans

The world is in a bit of a twist today. It has been about a year since the emergence of the Coronavirus around the world began placing high-stress toll in the public health of all nations. All people in the world have the potential for this infectious disease. This possibility heightens without the proper equipment and gear to keep one’s safety assured. The sudden demand for face masks, face shields and other Proper Protective Equipment nevertheless, has led to the emergence of a waste accumulation that poses a challenge to handle.


It’s easy to think of people walking around in a social distance while wearing a mask. But, how about the ones who are closer in contact with people who have contracted the virus? Remember that doctor you saw a while ago in television wearing scrubs from head to toe? Where do you think scrubs, gloves and masks go after a long shift from the hospital?

PPE Disposal in Australia

Proper Protective Equipment falls under general waste unless labelled for contamination. The government of Australia has set guidelines to make sure that these things go through proper waste management like any other kind process of disposal. To make things even more trivial, with the limited number of people (more than usual) present to handle the huge pile-ups of this rubbish, is anybody safe and shy away from a possibly contaminated PPE sealed and left in the garbage bin?

Every day, the globe uses and throws away billions of PPE items. This remains an issue until now since people need to use them every day. There’s no sign that this practice will stop any time in the nearer future. According to CNN, “129 billion disposable face masks and 65 billion throwaway gloves are being used every month through the pandemic.” This number is not expected to slow down and decrease any time soon.

The Australian Department of Health has set rules to properly put in place the waste management of PPEs. However, the constant accumulation of disposable PPEs daily often results in a direct waste accumulation of these PPEs too. There aren’t many options for getting rid of PPEs that are efficient and cost-effective long-term wise. Before long, everybody might be swimming in used and soiled PPEs that can do more harm than safety in the first place.

“This year, 76 countries participated in the clean up and collected at least 1.6 million pounds of trash, including tens of thousands of PPE products.” – Parija Kavilanz, CNN Business

Nations take action in implementing respective initiatives to deal with the PPEs in the ocean. In numbers, more than 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans from land, surging this year from the presence of additional PPEs to the pile. With the sheer number of discarded PPE items, plus the fact that there is less manpower to handle waste matter along the beaches, marine wildlife and oceans are in grave danger.

Coronavirus affects everything in the world. this pandemic doesn’t only stop within the realms of humanity. We are the beginning of it. The environment and wildlife are the next direct recipients of this pandemic. Though they don’t die because of the detrimental effects of the virus, they die because of the detrimental effects of mismanaged PPEs. The public health crisis easily transitions into an environmental crisis.


Unless Sydney acts fast to provide more options for waste disposal methods of used PPEs, they all go straight to the oceans for the fishes and the turtles. Face masks and gloves don’t belong to the sea. A slow collective effort to lessen this waste can save the oceans a long way. Each one can do their part by staying indoors to mitigate the usage of these disposable items or innovate reusable PPEs that can still serve more than a single usage of combatting the virus away.

Get in touch with us!

Paul’s Rubbish Removal is your waste disposal solution to get rid of unwanted trash including the face masks you have sealed off. We have been around a long time taking part in initiatives to keep waste well-managed. This year and the next few years won’t be any different from us. We will give our 110% effort for proper disposal of your face masks and other PPE items as we offer you our rubbish removal services. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

To book a job, please call 0407 125 125 or send us an email at info@paulsrubbish.com.au.

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a Digital Content Writer for Paul's Rubbish Removal. Sarah is a huge advocate for recycling, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and has a genuine love for all sea animals. Keep up with Sarah by following Paul's Rubbish Removal blog!

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