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Local environmentalists talk discarding masks properly

Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Executive Director Pamela Osborne encourages Stateliners to be conscious of how they treat disposable masks and avoid littering at all costs.
Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 6:14 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - With hopes of the coronavirus vaccine bringing an end to mask wearing, talk turns to what happens with all those cloth coverings.

“We’ve been thinking about it along ever since it started because people were wearing masks right from the beginning,” said Pamela Osborne, Executive Director, Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful.

As we prepare for the coronavirus vaccine’s arrival in the Rockford region, local environmentalists say the need to focus on how to properly throw away your mask is essential.

“When the vaccine comes in everything people are probably going to have just as many masks to throw you know to toss. Some of them might be more, the reusable kind, of keep washing, or the homemade ones or whatever, but they still need to be just thrown in the trash,” said Osborne.

Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Executive Director Pamela Osborne encourages Stateliners to be conscious of how they treat disposable masks and avoid littering at all costs.

“We really discourage that because you know the employees that work for these companies go out and they have to clean this stuff up. They have bacteria in them so they’re not really safe to be touching, so hopefully they’re wearing gloves when they do pick them up,” said Osborne.

Osborne says treating all personal protective equipment, like gloves and face coverings, with the same care that hospitals take can make all the difference in protecting the environment.

Because most of the materials found in medical masks aren’t biodegradable, Osborne recommends people label the bags they use to toss them so garbage collectors can handle them properly.

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