Recycle Mask 😷: COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, has continued to change the world’s lifestyle.

Lockdowns in many parts of the world mainly started around March or so. During this time up until now, you will see people covered with surgical masks almost all the time when going out. Generally, you have to wear a mask wherever you go. It sometimes can get irritating, to be honest. However, this is a small price to pay to protect yourself, in my opinion.

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This is where it gets a bit tricky, though. Naturally, due to the sudden influx of protective masks all over the world, we will also see a rise in mask waste. This can possibly become a major issue in the following years. Thankfully, there is a way to recycle these (otherwise “unrecyclable” by standards) masks. Read on to learn more.

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A bit about Waster

Before we discuss how to recycle different kinds of protective masks, let me share with you more information about Waster.

We here at Waster provide you with innovative solutions for you and your business’s waste management and recycling needs. Furthermore, we provide flexible, 30-day contracts instead of the typical lock-in contracts, which proves to be better.

Click on the blue button to learn more.

READ: Laboratory Equipment Recycling 🧪


Pollution caused by COVID

As we have mentioned above, the sudden spike of disposable masks in the last 2 years has left a negative mark on the environment. We have seen them almost everywhere, scattered on beaches, seas, oceans, the streets etc.

Environmental pollution is at an all-time high, unfortunately. What’s more is, these masks may take hundreds of years before they break down in the environment, as said by experts. Wildlife has became ensnared with these masks and other types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

2021, in particular, saw disposable mask waste skyrocket. An excerpt from Australia Geographic stated that:

“The amount of waste being generated due to COVID is staggering. In November, researchers at China’s Nanjing University published findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the pandemic had by then resulted in 8.4 million tonnes of plastic waste, 26,000t of which had ended up in the world’s oceans.

“The study was the first to quantify the scale of environmental pollution resulting from the pandemic. About 87 per cent of this waste came from hospitals – including plastic gloves, gowns and masks – with only about 8 per cent of the waste generated by individuals.

“This COVID-related pollution “poses a long-lasting problem for the ocean environment and is mainly accumulated on beaches and coastal sediments”, write the authors, who say public awareness of the impact of PPE needs to be increased. They argue that new technologies could improve waste collection, treatment and recycling, while the development of environmentally friendly materials to make PPE is also key.”

What can you do as a concerned citizen? Well, for starters, you should aim to dispose of your disposable mask the proper way. Cut the straps off so, at the very least, it does entangle wildlife.

For businesses, you have the option of recycling masks. Read below to learn more.


How to recycle masks

Here at Waster, we encourage you to recycle your masks. That is because as previously stated, we are seeing a rise in mask waste. If you are a business trying to do good in this world and help the environment, then we can help you with that.

We have been sharing with you the past few days a number of options to recycle your quote-unquote unrecyclable waste. Obviously, we will also do the same for this particular topic and discuss a way on how you can recycle your protective masks waste.

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Unfortunately, not a lot of recycling facilities accept protective masks (e.g., surgical and N95 masks). The reason is simply because of its “unrecyclability”. You will find a lot of sites suggesting that you should instead throw them in your rubbish bin. Additionally, problems with recycling arise when you think about it being contaminated. It poses a threat to the handlers as the masks can turn into carriers of the virus.

Moreover, the influx of protective mask waste way compromises the safety of wildlife and the natural environment. This only means that sustainable practices must be pushed to deal with the said waste.

TerraCycle’s program is a prime example of that. We will explain in the following sections.


Recycle your masks with the zero waste box

Collect your protective masks at your business and recycle them with the help of TerraCycle’s program! You can inquire with Waster for the TerraCycle Zero Waste Box service. Put the masks inside the Zero Waste Box for later shipping and recycling.

As our customers and readers alike already know, we offer a wide variety of TerraCycle “Zero-Waste” recycling boxes that can fit your business’s needs. Recently, Waster has recently added more products available which include masks. We will discuss below the easy process you need to do to ship them off to TerraCycle.

View the Disposable Masks – Zero Waste Box highlighted here.

Masks - Zero Waste Box


The Shipping process

Shipping off your disposable masks to recycle them is fairly easy. Once you get the box from us, here is what you should do to ship it off to TerraCycle:

  • Pick the box size you want to purchase – either small or medium for disposable mask waste.
  •  Only put the appropriate type of waste here. In this case, recycle medical, industrial, or costume masks. We will discuss more details with you through our statements below.  
  • After you filled it up with the appropriate items, you can then ship the box to TerraCycle. Use the pre-paid shipping label affixed to the TerraCycle box. Rest assured that your sent items are recycled properly and safely.

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Also, for you to ensure the proper recycling of your sent waste, remove all the excess or unnecessary products. Never let the purchased box get wet to prevent damage.


Exclude these items

You have to make sure to send the correct waste if you want them recycled. Please do not include other types of protective gear like gloves, hair nets, or lab coats and garments.

Additionally, you should also not send in lithium-ion batteries, pressurized canisters, pesticides, oil-based paint or medical sharps, organics, broken glass, biomedical waste, soiled diapers, or expired medication. Do not send in anything sharp, flammable, reactive, corrosive, ignitable, radioactive, toxic, infectious, or pathogenic.

We would also like to remind those who purchased that they should not send in medical waste like a  material contaminated with blood or bodily fluids that originate from health care facilities, hospitals, physicians offices, dental offices, blood banks, veterinary clinics, research laboratories, etc.


How does TerraCycle recycle the masks?

When you turn your disposable masks over to TerraCycle, they will process the collected waste and melt the plastics. After that, they will then remould it and turn it into new products.



If you can help it, try to cut down on using masks. One thing you could do is limit your movements outside your house as much as possible when you do not have a need to go outside. Additionally, you can also try to use a reusable and washable face mask.


Recycle disposable mask: quick recap

Waster, through TerraCycle’s program, can help you recycle your surgical or N95 mask. It is a quick and easy process.

There are alternatives you can do if you want to cut down on disposable mask waste.


For your other waste management and recycling needs

If you’re looking for recycling bins, check our waste recycling shop and find the best deals in terms of pricing and services.

Also, please call 1300 WASTER (1300 927 837), or email us at if you have any further questions.


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