The health company, Sanitas, has launched a pilot project thanks to which will recycle hygienic, surgical and FPP2 masks. This initiative will begin with the installation of special containers in 20 of its dental clinics in Madrid and Barcelona, which will be available so that anyone can recycle their used masks, as well as in its central offices on Ribera del Loira street and the offices of its customer relations center in Madrid.
The recycling process will be carried out together with Recycle Masks, a circular economy program launched thanks to the experience of 25 years in waste management promoted by Basque startups, Orka Waste Management and Nantek. Once collected, the masks, which a priori are non-recyclable waste, undergo a patented pyrolysis process advanced to be transformed into high added value products to be reused in the industrial and transport sectors.
Surgical and FFP2 masks are made of plastic materials forming filters that prevent small particles and viruses from reaching our respiratory system. Given its plastic components, these masks can take up to 400 years to decompose and if disposed of incorrectly have the potential to pollute our environment. According to the United Nations, each year around 300 million plastic wastes are produced worldwide, of which only 14% is collected for recycling.
Thanks to this initiative, Sanitas will prevent masks from reaching landfills and will recover this material for later use, in line with the company’s commitment to care for the health of the planet to also take care of people’s health. In addition, this action will also have an awareness effect to raise awareness about the need to properly dispose of masks, since according to a WWF study it is estimated that, if 1% of the masks that are used were disposed of incorrectly, we would end up having 10 million masks. per month polluting the environment.
It is estimated that, with this initial project, the containers installed in Sanitas clinics and offices will collect and recycle annually about 100,000 masks. A figure with which more than 90kg of plastic waste will be avoided in landfills, more than 90kg of fossil fuel and the saving of more than 200kg of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere will be achieved.
“At Sanitas Dental we considered it essential to contribute to the health of the planet and what better way to do it than by recycling masks. Currently, these have become a fundamental element to protect us against COVID, but masks are also an essential and habitual complement for the safety of our collaborators”, has affirmed Jesús Bonilla, CEO of Sanitas Dental. “For this reason, from our clinics we want to be part of the solution and that is why we are committed to installing these containers to reuse discarded masks in materials with a second use.”, the manager pointed out.
This pilot project will be extended to the rest of the 200 Sanitas Dental clinics and progressively in other company facilities.