Wilko extends in-store facemask recycling scheme

The retailer estimates some 400,000 masks could be recycled by the time the scheme ends

Facemask recycling at Wilko for ReWorked

An in-store scheme to help wilko customers recycle their used facemasks has proved so successful that the retailer is extending it by two months, to the end of September

If we dump our facemasks in the bin, they'll end up in landfill, contributing to the formation of greenhouse gases. So we're all being urged to dispose of masks carefully and one easy way is to drop them off at a recycling point in a wilko store.

Its scheme is being extended to the end of September following an initial three-month pilot, and it will see the service remain in place at the original 150 participating stores. 
Wilko estimates 400,000 masks could be recycled via the scheme, equating to 966kg of single-use plastic. Once full, the recycling bins are taken away by recycling specialists ReWorked, who together with Metrisk Ltd and Scan2Recycle are partnering with wilko in the scheme – the first of its kind on the UK high street. 
Masks collected via the scheme are broken down into raw fibres which can be sustainably refashioned into products ranging from other safety materials for businesses, to building materials and even quality, durable public space furniture. 
While masks are no longer a legal requirement, wilko is still recommending face coverings for team members and customers in busy indoor spaces.
The Covid-19 crisis has seen a huge increase in the use of disposable face masks. 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. 
Disposable facemasks are made from polypropylene fabric - a type of plastic. An estimated 8 million tonnes of general plastic waste already ends up in the world’s oceans every year, and the impact of the pandemic will only increase that quantity if PPE litter continues to proliferate. 
Jerome Saint Marc, CEO at wilko, says the recycling scheme has been a huge success: 'We know our customers care about the environment and this scheme has proved just how much. It’s a little win that truly makes a world of difference,'