Telecoms giant O2 is partnering with TerraCycle, which specializes in hard-to-recycle waste, will be distributing ‘Zero Waste Boxes’ to O2 stores, to ensure that PPE is recycled safely.
Due to the current pandemic, over a billion items of PPE distributed across the UK, and as the retail sector reopens for business, O2 has taken proactive steps to ensure that PPE plastics can be safely collected, cleaned and recycled to produce new plastic products.
O2 will begin collecting used personal protective equipment (PPE) at UK stores this month, and according to the partnership, O2 will encourage customers to drop their used PPE into the boxes and seal when the boxes are full. TerraCycle will then pick up the boxes and aggregate the plastic-based components before cleaning and shredding which can be melted into pellets and used to manufacture products such as outdoor furniture, decking, storage containers and watering cans.
PPE, including masks and gloves, made of plastic has great impact in our environment especially in fragile ocean ecosystems. According to UK charity City to Sea, around 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by plastic pollution annually.
“We’re delighted to announce our partnership with TerraCycle, which will ensure the PPE keeping our customers and employees safe in stores is responsibly recycled. This new scheme will help minimize our impact on the planet,” Tracey Herald, Head of Partnerships & Social Impact at O2 said.
Stephen Clarke, Head of Communications at TerraCycle Europe said, “The exponential growth in plastic PPE could be very costly for the planet. That’s why we’re proud to be taking a leadership role with O2 in safely and responsibly recycling the PPE used across their retail estate in the UK.”
“We would encourage more retailers to work with us and to follow the example O2 is setting” he also added.
The scheme is made on O2’s commitment to become a net-zero business in March, tackling carbon emissions in its business and supply chain.