Do you work in a place that requires personal protective equipment (PPE)? Maybe it's a lab, hospital, clinic, tattoo parlor, salon, or somewhere else you're in close contact with people.
Whatever the case, you probably use disposable gloves every single day. Most people in these industries tend to use multiple pairs of gloves a day. Studies show that a single lab can end up using around 5,000 pounds of disposable gloves a year. By now, there are millions of disposable gloves in our landfills and the numbers only continue to rise exponentially.
Having this many disposable gloves in our landfills is a problem. Nonetheless, we need disposable gloves to protect ourselves from whatever possible hazards and contaminants may come our way. Whether you're using them for professional purposes, cleaning around the house, or even for arts and crafts—disposable gloves are a problem, but they're also a necessity.
So how can we reduce the number of disposable gloves that end up in landfills without having to stop using disposable gloves? Can disposable nitrile gloves be recycled like other rubber materials? Let's find out!
Can Disposable Gloves Be Recycled?
There are currently three types of disposable gloves available in the market: latex, vinyl, and nitrile gloves. All three kinds of disposable gloves can be recycled as long as they aren't contaminated by chemicals and bacteria. Otherwise, they're considered hazardous waste and should never be recycled or reused.
However, most recycling programs only accept nitrile gloves. It's unclear why, but one can assume it's because these types of gloves are latex-free, making them hypoallergenic. Plus they're the most durable of the three. This probably makes them a better material for recycling and upcycling.
So if you want to help cut down on waste, purchase nitrile gloves instead of buying latex or vinyl gloves. Not only are they more durable and more protective, but they're also the only gloves being recycled these days.
How To Prepare Your Nitrile Gloves For Recycling
Like we mentioned above, nitrile gloves are only going to be accepted into a recycling program if they aren't contaminated. If your gloves have been contaminated by clinical waste, harsh chemicals, blood, bodily fluids, and oil these will not be accepted into the recycling program.
Gloves that have been used for hair dyes and water-based paints are accepted, but they must be washed and dried first before being put in the recycling bin.
Proper Collecting Practices
When collecting your used uncontaminated nitrile gloves make sure that they are placed inside a latex-free clear plastic liner. Do not mix with contaminated gloves or other glove types, make sure to have separate containers for each.
Some recycling programs will ask you to weigh your bags before sending them out while others don't. Make sure to check the instructions of each program and follow them exactly as they say.
What Happens To Nitrile Gloves That Are Recycled?
There are a couple of things that may happen to your nitrile gloves after they've gone through the recycling process. They're either sold in the market as raw materials or turned into recycled products such as park benches, trash cans, frisbees, and so on.
How To Properly Discard Disposable Gloves That Can't Be Recycled
When disposing of hazardous waste, you must separate them from the rest of your trash. Keep a separate bin for all your hazardous waste and make sure to use the proper labeling as well.
The most important part of disposing of contaminated gloves is that you remove them properly. You can't just remove the gloves without care, there is a specific way to do it so that you reduce the risk of spreading bacteria and other possible contaminants.
Do not pull off your gloves from the fingers, instead pinch the outside of one glove from the wrist. Make sure that you aren't touching your exposed skin. Once you have a good grasp of the gloves, peel them away from your body, pulling them inside out.
Hold the glove you just pulled off in your gloved hand and peel off the second glove by putting your fingers inside the glove at the top of your wrist. Turn the second glove inside out while pulling it away from your body, wrapping the first glove inside the second.
Once both gloves are removed dispose of them properly by throwing them into your bin for hazardous wastes. Wash your hands right after and avoid touching your face, mouth, and eyes before washing your hands.
Get Your Nitrile Gloves From The #1 Online PPE Store
Our collection of nitrile, latex-free gloves is the most affordable one you can find online. They come in all sizes and colors so you can choose between light blue, dark blue, purple, black, and more.
Of course, we don't only sell disposable gloves. You can find other PPEs in our store as well, such as disposable N95 and surgical masks, face shields, and even barrier film. Buy your PPEs today and get free shipping on all orders above $50!