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RRC Launches Disposable Mask Recycling Program

March 2, 2021 9:24 AM | News

Face Mask - Coronavirus

A discarded face mask is shown on a street next to a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, May 17, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

WINNIPEG — Red River College has launched a disposable mask recycling program, saving used face masks from entering the landfill.

While many people choose to wear reusable masks, RRC distributes more than 6,000 disposable masks every month on its campuses.

“We’ve set up disposable mask recycling boxes at our Notre Dame Campus, located outdoors in high-traffic areas,” said Sara MacArthur, director of campus planning and sustainability.


“As people leave our buildings, they can take off and toss their masks into one of the boxes to be recycled.”

The masks are collected and sent to a facility in New Jersey where they are disassembled, sorted, and bundled for new use.

RRC says the metal nose pieces are smelted into bar stock and metal sheeting, the polypropylene face covering is crushed to make composite decking, shipping pallets, and other products, and the ear bands are ground into a fine mesh to mix with other recycled products.

The college is the only post-secondary institution in the province with a mask recycling program and is currently exploring how to expand it to its other campuses.