Health and Wellness

How to discard personal protective equipment properly to avoid hurting the environment

By: - March 22, 2021

Cebu City, Philippines–Going outside our homes now requires us to be prepared and protected.

It is no longer the usual routine of care-free sightseeing at our local sites or hopping by our neighborhood shops for errands and leisure.

We now all need to wear personal protective equipment when traveling or strolling around town.

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is protective clothing such as gloves, face shields, goggles, face masks, and other equipment designed to protect us from the spread of a virus or disease.

Commonly used in health care institutions, be it in medical facilities, hospitals, or clinics, PPEs all act as a barrier between our mouth, skin, nose, eyes from harmful infections and viral contaminations.

Since PPEs are widely used these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must all remember that most of these are single-use items, which means we keep throwing them away after every use.

Thus, it is important to take note that these PPEs should be properly disposed to avoid creating another problem, which is polluting our environment.

Read moreProper waste management and disposal for a clean, safe environment


Here are some ways on how to properly dispose these items:

Face Masks

Good quality face masks or surgical masks help stop the spread of germs in your nose and mouth. It also helps us from breathing in harmful viruses.

Since most face masks are one-time use only, face masks should not be used once they are soiled or the inner lining gets moist.

For cloth masks, make sure to wash and disinfect so that they can be reused.

Single-use masks should be folded, tied and then wrapped before throwing it away. | CDN File Photo

For surgical masks, follow the rules FOLD, TIE, and WRAP.

After taking the mask off, makes sure to fold it half inwards. Then, fold the mask into another half, until it looks like a roll. Wrap the mask with its ear loops so that it will not unfold. Then wrap the mask in tissue paper or and immediately throw it into the trash can labeled for toxic or infectious wastes.


If you use gloves when shopping for essentials or going outside your home, it is important to regularly change them.

Contaminated gloves should be thrown away immediately. | CDN File Photo

Like our used masks, used gloves should be thrown properly in the garbage.

Health facilities advise placing them inside a plastic bag labeled with used PPE and thrown properly together with infectious waste.

it is important to take note that these PPEs should be properly disposed to avoid creating another problem, which is polluting our environment.

Clothing and shoe covers

It is important to take note that when it comes to a one-time use of protective clothing, it must be discarded after being used.

Washing and disinfecting protective clothing and reusing them after can damage its protective properties and render your PPE item ineffective.

When handling contaminated protective clothing, the user must be trained on how to properly remove them.

Make sure that you are knowledgeable on how to handle PPE clothing. | CDN File Photo

Medical front liners consider PPE clothing as biohazardous medical waste and it should be disposed of according to standard procedures.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that disposable protective clothing should be removed in a decontamination chamber and placed in sealed bags, then disposed of as hazardous waste.

Face Shields or goggles

Since most face shields and goggles are made of high-quality plastic, they are often reusable and used multiple times before disposing of them.

Medical experts suggest that they should be disinfected regularly. However, when they become contaminated with known harmful diseases, they also advise disposing of the face shield and goggles immediately.

Disinfect your face shields and goggles regulary but once they are contaminated, throw them properly. | CDN File Photo

Place the contaminated face shield inside a plastic bag with a label and throw it together with hazardous waste.

When not familiar with the proper disposal of contaminated and used protective equipment, make sure to ask health professionals or follow the standard procedure given by your local government and waste management procedures. /bmjo


This is part of Cebu Daily News Digital’s Earth Hour series as the company joins Earth Hour 2021.

This series is also supported by our partner, AboitizPower ( and Global Business Power (

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