Recycling & COVID 19

Recycling is important

EPA Stresses the Importance of Recycling and Proper Disposal of Personal Protective Equipment

EPA is encouraging all Americans to recycle materials from their households and properly dispose of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially during the Coronavirus public health emergency. Recycling isn’t just good for the planet by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and saving energy, it also supports American manufacturing.

Recycled materials are used to make new products as well as the boxes that these and other essential supplies are shipped in for the everyday needs of hospitals, grocery stores, pharmacies and American homes. Currently, businesses that normally recycle large amounts of paper and cardboard are not able to do that due to the impacts from the current public health emergency. Because of this, household recycling is more essential than ever.

Americans all over the country are staying home, getting more deliveries in cardboard boxes, eating at home, and generating more material than normal, much of which can be recycled.

EPA encourages households to do their part – recycle more and recycle correctly so the right materials are available for U.S. manufacturers. To do so:

  • Check with your local recycling hauler to see what materials they accept right now and recycle what you can from your home.
  • Break down shipping and food boxes, rinse out containers and cans, keep them dry and clean, and put them in your curbside bin to be recycled.
  • Keep disinfectant wipes, gloves, masks, other PPE and medical waste out of recycling bins.

When taking trips to essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies, please do not litter disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves or other PPE, instead put them securely in a trash can and follow local trash and Center for Disease Control guidelines.

Learn more:

EPA Administrator Wheeler’s video message

Don’t Recycle Personal Protective Equipment video

Recycling During the Health Crisis video

EPA’s Recycling During COVID-19 web page