For the latest updates and guidelines please access the Fall 2020 Reopening FAQ page created by the college.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, masks and gowns are not recyclable and should always be bagged and placed in a trash bin. Additionally, cleaning supplies such as disposable wipes, paper towels and tissues are not recyclable and should always be bagged and placed in a trash bin.
- Prioritize sustainably produced reusable masks that can be washed and reused over single-use disposable PPE.
- Before disposing of masks in the trash bin cut the ear loops. Masks have recently been found tied up to birds feet, they are a new source of pollution.
Hand sanitizer bottles are recyclable if properly cleaned out.
- Reduce your own personal single-use disposable waste by utilizing reusables like utensils, water bottles, mugs, straws, and bags when possible.
- Please note that our Campus Dining Services has to use disposables in order to meet State guidelines for higher education as part of reopening. For those of you on campus, we encourage you to reduce your use of single-use disposables whenever you can by bringing your own utensils to meals.
- Frequent businesses that already use reusable products
- Stay educated and updated on health precautions
Use reusable cloth face coverings made from natural vs. synthetic materials like organic or recycled cotton or hemp (the more sustainably produced the better!) Cloth masks are easier to clean, more durable and help reduce waste from disposable masks. Discarded single-use masks and gloves are already washing up on shorelines and littering the seabed. Make sure if you do use single-use masks or gloves that you dispose of them in a trash and cut the elastic ear loops.
You just need some thread and a needle (or sewing machine), scissors, fabric (about two 10×8 inch sheets, depending on which tutorial you use) and extra fabric, elastics (7 inch), or clean shoe-laces for the loops. You can also use rubber bands or hair ties for elastic replacement options.
There are several resources online for DIY masks, here are just a few:
- Video: How To Make A Fabric Face Mask At Home
- Mask Making Tutorial & Materials
- How to Sew a Fabric Face Mask: A sewing pattern to use with common household materials
The CDC recommends washing your reusable masks after every use. To make your masks last longer, we recommend hand-washing and air-drying them (dryer heat can damage elastic!) to save energy and water. Make sure to completely dry the mask after washing. Lay flat and allow to completely dry. If possible, place the mask in direct sunlight.
Masks can also be washed in a washing machine with regular detergent and dried with your regular laundry. While it is true that elastic could eventually be damaged by heat, it is still fine to use a dryer.
EHS strongly recommends NOT using bleach to clean face coverings. Not only is it a respiratory irritant, a skin irritant, and something that can harm your eyes in the event of a splash, but it will discolor the mask. They also warn against using strongly scented detergent, soap, or dryer sheets for those who may be sensitive to perfumes.