Recycle or not? Face masks, wipes, and more

News article

Disposable face masks, gloves, and wipes should all go in the garbage. But cardboard boxes and some types of empty plastic containers can be recycled.

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Waste items related to cleaning and personal protective gear.

Many of us using more cleaning and personal protective items these days and it can be confusing which items go in the garbage and which can be recycled.

Here's a quick guide:

Garbage

  • Face masks and face shields
  • Facial tissues
  • Plastic gloves
  • All wipes (even those labelled flushable or biodegradable) and wipe bags and boxes
  • Empty hand sanitizer bottles smaller than 6 oz

Make sure all garbage is bagged and securely tied to avoid litter and protect the safety of waste collectors and the community.

Recycling

  • Cardboard boxes from tissues, soap and gloves
  • Cardboard tubes from paper towels and toilet paper rolls
  • Plastic bottles from cleaning supplies (empty, rinsed)
  • Plastic hand sanitizer bottles larger than 6oz. (empty, rinsed)
  • Plastic cylinder shaped wipe containers (see picture)

Reuse

For hand sanitizer and hand soap, consider buying a larger bottle and refilling the smaller bottles you use every day. This prevents packaging waste and can save money.

Questions?

Have a question about an item that's not listed here? Ask us: wasteinfo@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-7202.

Image also available en Español:

COVID waste items for trash and recycling - en Español

Thanks to Washington County for sharing their recycling visuals.