Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority says do not recycle disposable masks

Facility says toss them in solid waste bins and cut the strings off to protect wildlife
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 4:39 PM EDT
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SANDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - There are items we see every day, like cardboard and glass bottles, that are recyclable.

There are also things that are not, and as the Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority explains, disposable masks are on that list.

“With COVID, the exposure, and the usage of those, it’s more of a medical waste that it would be a recyclable,” said Director of Operations Brad Austin. “It’s something that we do not want to see in the curbside recycling bin.”

Austin says his facility has not seen a lot of those masks in recycling bins lately. He does say masks made out of cloth can be reusable. Aside from that, there is a proper way to toss out the disposable masks.

“You should be putting non-recyclable PPE into your solid waste/waste receptacle,” Austin said.

He says you should also cut the strings of the mask before tossing them to protect the wildlife in the area.

“What happens is the birds get wrapped up in that,” he explained. “So if you cut the strings, then it eliminates that issue.”

And in case you are unsure about what to do with disposable masks, Austin says the Recycling Wizard Tool on Recycle 906′s website can help you understand what items can or cannot be recycled.

“Type an item in by name,” he stated. “Once you do that, then it’s cued up. That item will come up, there will be a picture of it, and it will explain if it’s acceptable into the recycling program or if it should be placed into solid waste.”

To find out what PPE and other objects can and cannot be recycled, visit

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