Some Manitoba provincial parks to recycle disposable masks

A discarded disposable mask is pictured on snow in Kingston, Ontario on Monday, January 11, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues across Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

Some Manitoba provincial parks will now have a special box to collect disposable masks to recycle them.

“Mask use is critical for protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, but once a disposable mask is used, it becomes waste that should be treated differently than standard garbage or recyclables,” said Conservation Minister Sarah Guillemard.

Now that more people are attending provincial parks, the number of discarded masks are going up as well, she added.

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The province, in partnership with recyclers TerraCycle, will distribute “Zero Waste Boxes” at 15 different parks including:

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  • Cedar Bog trailhead, campground office and west beach shelter in Birds Hill Provincial Park;
  • Spirit Sands trailhead and campground office in Spruce Woods Provincial Park;
  • campground office in Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park;
  • Pioneer Beach in Clearwater Provincial Park;
  • Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park;
  • Blue trailhead and campground office in St. Malo Provincial Park;
  • Grand Beach town site and campground office in Grand Beach Provincial Park; and
  • Falcon Beach town site, Falcon Lake Beach campground office and West Hawk Lake campground office in Whiteshell Provincial Park.

After the boxes are collected, they will be shipped to a sorting facility in Ontario and broken down into components to be recycled.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges to the global community including worldwide spikes in plastic pollution caused by the improper disposal of single-use face masks,” said Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s CEO.

Szaky said the project offers an easy solution to collect and recycle disposable masks, keeping them out of the landfill and from littering natural spaces.

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