Disposable gloves have long been a staple in many industries including food service and healthcare, and more businesses than ever have started using disposable gloves over the last couple years. While these gloves are useful for workplace safety and preventing the spread of germs, they have also created added waste.
Environmentally friendly and sustainable practices are becoming increasingly important as we see the effects of climate change in everyday life. Being able to recycle disposable gloves is one way we can reduce our environmental footprint. But are disposable gloves recyclable? The short answer is sometimes, but it's not a one size fits all answer. The deciding factor on if a glove can be recycled is the material that it's made from, and what the glove was used for.
Are poly gloves recyclable?
Poly gloves are a thin food service glove that are made of polyethylene. Polyethylene as a material is technically recyclable. Once recycled poly gloves are usually turned into lower-quality products such as plastic lumber or bags. However, the practicality of recycling poly gloves can depend on a few factors.
First, it's important to note that poly gloves can only be recycled if they are clean and free of any contaminants. This means that if the gloves have any chemicals are food residue on them they should not be recycled. It may seem silly to have to exclude them for a bit of food residue, but some foods can contaminate and spoil an entire batch of recycled products.
Second, the availability and accessibility of recycling facilities that accept poly gloves can vary. In some areas, there may be facilities that can recycle polyethylene products like gloves, while in other areas there may not be any options for recycling. Best practice is to always check your local regulations.
Are nitrile gloves recyclable?
Nitrile gloves as a general rule are not easily recyclable through traditional recycling programs due to the difficulty in breaking down the material. However, some companies have developed specialized recycling programs for nitrile gloves.
These specialized recycling programs typically involve sending the used gloves to a recycling facility where they are melted down and repurposed into other plastic products such as garden hoses or playground equipment.
It's important to note that these programs may not be widely available and may not be cost-effective for small quantities of gloves. However, some organizations and companies that use large volumes of nitrile gloves may find these programs to be a viable option for reducing their environmental impact.
Are latex gloves recyclable?
Latex gloves, also known as rubber gloves are technically recyclable, but they need to meet two requirements.
The first is that the gloves have to be clean and contaminant-free. This means that the gloves should not have any chemicals, bodily fluids or other hazardous materials on them. If they have hazardous waste they should be disposed of according to your safety procedures. If they're soiled in a non-hazardous way they should be disposed of as waste.
The second requirement is the age old check your local regulations. Not all recycling facilities accept latex gloves, and even those that do may have specific requirements for how the gloves should be cleaned or prepared before turning them in.
One downfall of recycling latex gloves is that it's not as efficient of a recycling process as other materials such as poly. Latex is a natural material, and recycling it often requires shredding it into small pieces and then blending it with other materials to create new products. This process is often not a cost-effective option.
Are Hybrid Gloves Recyclable?
Our hybrid gloves are made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE) gloves but the term hybrid can be used for a variety of glove materials. While LDPE is a recyclable material, the recyclability of hybrid gloves from another company can depend on the other materials that are included in the blend.
Much like the other recyclable glove options they should be clean and not contaminated with any chemicals or food particles to be sent for recycling. LDPE is considered to be a lower-grade plastic material, which means that they may not be as valuable or as easy to recycle as other materials. This can make it more difficult and less cost-effective for recycling facilities to process LDPE gloves. If you are looking to dispose of used LDPE gloves, the best way to ensure they are recycled properly is to check with your local recycling program or waste management services.
Are vinyl gloves recyclable
Vinyl gloves are typically not recyclable through traditional recycling programs. This is because they are made from a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can release harmful chemicals and gases when it is melted down for recycling. Additionally, the quality of the recycled material may not be high enough to make it usable for creating new products.
As a result, used vinyl gloves should not be placed in recycling bins or sent to recycling facilities. Instead, they should be disposed of in the regular trash.
Glove recycling best practices
To sum it up Latex, hybrid and poly gloves are usually recyclable, and nitrile gloves are sometimes recyclable. Vinyl gloves should always be disposed of as waste. Since gloves cannot be recycled if they're contaminated or have food waste on them it's best to have two separate garbage bins to separate them into, especially at food prep stations. One bin can be for clean gloves, such as those used to package dry foods, and a bin for dirty gloves that may have sauces still on them. And as usual it's a big country with lots of different regulations, so you should always refer to your local waste management regulations for the final say.