How To Discard Mask Correctly And Protect The Environment


We’re all aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected human society, but are we also aware of the environmental consequences?

However, it has become a new source of pollutants. A specific form of garbage has been gathering in massive amounts all over the world. It’s all over the streets, playgrounds, and parks.

It can be found drifting in ocean waters, indicating that the majority of it, sadly, ends up in nature. Personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes is used by people all across the world to remain safe.

If these materials were previously only available to the medical field, they are now available to the general public. It is therefore critical for users to understand how to properly dispose of this equipment to preserve their wellbeing as well as the environment.

The impact of masks on the environment:

Disposable masks that are not properly disposed of have started popping up in cities around the world in recent months when the outbreak surged.

When enormous numbers of used masks began to surface on beaches, environmentalists raised concern. This residue, according to environmentalists, poses a hazard to human life, marine life, and wildlife ecosystems.

What’s more alarming is that, in addition to polluting the environment, this garbage could hasten the spreading of the new coronavirus.

Despite the availability of substitutes, the majority of people around the world continue to use TNT masks. As they are convenient and inexpensive but you cannot wash them. The rate of production has risen by a factor of ten.

For example, the Brazilian Textile and Garment Association has recruited hundreds of enterprises to produce 13.5 million disposable masks in Brazil alone.

Furthermore, recycling facilities have pushed to implement procedures to safeguard workers who collect and sort trash from becoming contaminated by masks discarded improperly.

How to dispose of a mask?

Several bacteria can survive for different lengths of time on a used mask. Viruses, according to experts, can survive anywhere from a few hours to a few days if left open.

My sincere plea to all of you is that you do not discard worn masks in lifts, playgrounds, workplaces, homes, or open dust bins carelessly. Because people who come into contact with them may be exposed to a health risk.

Furthermore, some people take them back for re-use, putting their lives at risk. Respiratory secretions on the infected masks might be spread and transferred through the air.

As a result, please exercise caution. Always clean your hands before and after wearing the mask.

Cloth masks

You should wash the cloth masks well and frequently, then hang them to dry.

Surgical masks

Remove the mask from the chin up, taking care not to contact the front piece and remove it from the strings. Please fold the mask in half after removing it, so that drips from your lips and nose are not visible.

Then fold the mask in half again until it resembles a spiral. You can also tie the mask’s ear loops to keep it from unraveling. Then wrap the mask should in tissue paper or a polythene bag and throw it away in the yellow garbage bag. Before getting rid of something, keep it handy.

N95 respirator

Hold the edge of the bands attached to pull off the N95 mask when removing it. Don’t get your hands on the inside of the respirator. Wash your hands before and after.

Remove the mask gently to avoid disseminating pollutants on the mask. Place the mask in a plastic bag or a zip pouch. In between usage, put them in a vented container like a paper bag.

Tightly close the bag. Avoid putting on a new mask without first washing your hands thoroughly.

Is it possible to re-use or sanitize the mask?

The most of masks are one-time use and thrown away. You should not re-use face masks if they have become filthy or if the inner lining has become moist. You can only sterilize them for a limited number of uses.

If you wish to repeat the mask, keep it dry so that it lasts as long as possible. Please do not place the mask beneath the chin when removing it so that viruses do not adhere to the mask.

Please do not leave worn masks on any surfaces since they can become infected. It should be stored properly so it can be used again.

Cloth masks

You can wash, disinfect, dry, and reuse correctly.

Surgical masks

Put it in a sealable plastic pouch with a desiccated gel if it’s dry and the layers and form are still intact.

The mask can be worn for three days if it is in good condition and not torn.  Perhaps, never reuse or share if it has been worn by an infected individual.

N95 respirator

When not in use, but the N95 respirator in a closed plastic container and dispose of or clean the storage containers regularly. Dry out a N95 respirator by putting it in a dry place for 3-4 days before use it.

N95 polypropylene is hydrophobic and devoid of moisture. It’s best to use four N95 masks and identify them from one to four. On the first day, put mask 1 and leave it to dry for 3-4 days.

On the second day, use mask 2 and leave it to dry for 3-4 days. Following two days are the same. Another option is to sanitize the N95 mask by drying it in the oven for 30 minutes at 70 degrees C (without touching metal).


To conclude, masks and other disposable pandemic containment materials, such as gloves, should not be thrown away in the recycling bin with other boxes, cans, or organic waste. Do not toss them out with the rest of your garbage.

The responsibility lies on both ends. It is important to raise awareness by medical mask manufacturers and the government as well. However, it is for the general public to realize the importance of disposal.

It’s the most effective strategy to keep them from polluting the environment or endangering people’s health. Instead, this type of trash will continue to build and contribute to the ecosystem’s other types of contamination.


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