Where do you throw your latex gloves? This hand protection device is used daily in a variety of applications, and it is, therefore, crucial to know the correct disposal methods: are latex gloves part of the products to be disposed of in a separate collection? Or can they be thrown into the general waste?
Let’s start by saying that the problem of where to throw the latex gloves grew exponentially when the COVID-19 health emergency occurred, when these devices, together with the masks, became essential to be able to move safely within supermarkets, shopping centres and public places. The circumstances have therefore made them an object of daily use for an even wider audience of users than the norm.
Unfortunately, finding gloves and masks thrown on the ground in the street is not yet a rare occurrence: uncivilised behaviour (especially if you consider that such devices could be contaminated and that they are naturally polluting) that can be corrected with simple common sense and basic education in terms of disposal.
Do latex gloves go into separate collections? No! That’s why
The Istituto Superiore della Sanità (ISS) clarified as early as spring 2020 that disposable masks and gloves (in latex or any other material) must always be disposed of in general waste when used as tools for protection against Coronavirus – even better if inside an additional bag.
The indication provided is, in particular, related to masks and gloves produced in all materials and used as a defence shield against COVID-19, for contact with infected or potentially infected people, or for the handling of objects that could be contaminated by the virus. In this sense, the provisions of the ISS do not specifically refer to latex gloves but, in broader terms, to each type of glove used as a disposable device in the pandemic context.
Although it is necessary to keep in mind that these hand protection accessories are nonetheless biodegradable, it is not at all possible to dispose of them in a separate collection – neither in the compostable nor in the plastic bin. Biodegradable does not mean compostable – a substantial difference in the decomposition time of a product (faster, in fact, if compostable).
Therefore, regardless of the area in which latex gloves are used – from the food sector to the clean rooms, from cleaning to industries – and without prejudice to the importance of consulting the rules of their municipality, they should always, and without exception, be thrown into the bin of the general waste, the so-called “dry“.
But what is the reason for opting for this type of disposal? The answer considers several factors.
First of all, although these devices are produced with a material of natural origin from the rubber tree (Hevea brasilensis and Hevea guaianensis), the adhesive substance extracted following the incision on the trunk is subsequently processed with the addition of additives such as antioxidants, vulcanisers, accelerants, stabilisers and, lastly, thermosetting to give the ideal shape and consistency to the finished product: comfortable, soft, compact and resistant. The presence of these substances alone makes it essential to dispose of the latex glove in the general waste collection.
It should also be considered that latex gloves are often used to protect the hands from contact with specific chemical agents, as well as for the aforementioned protection from potentially dangerous microorganisms. If, for example, they are used in the health and medical field, the used gloves will then be transferred to specialised incinerators and reduced to ash, to eliminate any residual pathogens.
All these reasons, therefore, make only one type of disposal possible: in the general waste bin.
Reflexx offers you a wide range of latex gloves for different applications. Discover all the products on the dedicated page or contact us to request more information about the model that best suits your needs.