Wilko stores in Milton Keynes launch in-store mask recycling scheme

The retailer's new scheme means masks can be recycled and used as everything from building materials to new furniture.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:05 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 4:20 pm

Both Milton Keynes Wilko stores now have indoor collection bins where disposable masks can be left for reuse.

This new scheme is live across all 150 of wilko’s UK stores and will hopefully discourage people from throwing away their disposable masks.

Recycling specialists, ReWorked, worked together with Metrisk Ltd, Scan2Recycle and wilko to create this first of its kind scheme.

Wilko is the first UK retailer to launch a recycling scheme for disposable masks

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’s why we’re 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’s more, it also means we’re 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.”

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.

Face masks are currently mandatory in the UK in public spaces to help lower the spread of the Coronavirus.

While the government has encouraged Brits 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.

A spokesperson for Wilko said: "Disposable face masks are made from polypropylene fabric - a type of plastic. An estimated 8M 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."