On Tuesday, November 10, the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent announced that citizens and employees will now be able to dispose of their personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and gloves, in designated recycling boxes outside of municipal buildings.

According to the release, once the boxes are full, they're sent to TerraCycle, where the contents are recycled into materials, such as plastic granules, which can be used for things like storage boxes or synthetic wood street furniture.

This initiative works toward's the borough's "objective of the Sustainable Development Policy adopted in January 2019 to make Saint-Laurent a sustainable and resilient municipal territory."

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The estimated percentage of PPE that will end up in landfills and the ocean.

As the use of PPE becomes more popular around the world, many studies have found that while the materials may be helpful in combatting COVID-19, there is a definite impact on the environment. 

"In the face of the present situation, everyone's health is still our priority. However, we must keep in mind our responsibility to continue our efforts to reduce our ecological footprint," explained Saint-Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa.

"I am therefore encouraging employees and residents to dispose of their personal protective equipment at the various drop-off points we have made available to them. This small effort will definitely have a huge impact on the environment."

Currently, there are four boxes made available to the public: Borough Hall, the Bibliothèque du Boisé, the Bibliothèque du Vieux-Saint-Laurent, the Centre des loisirs and the Sports Complex.

To keep in line with Saint-Laurent's Direction des travaux publics, additional boxes have been placed in various employee workshops throughout the borough.

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