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Single-use plastic items on the rise during COVID-19

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“When you’re done using them make sure you put them in your trash can or trash cans that are out in public,” Solid Waste Program Manager Diana Trussell said.

She’s talking about plastic PPE, like plastic gloves and masks.

According to the United Nations, items like these are contributing to the 300 million tons of plastic waste dumped each year.

“We are starting to see more of it on the ground and just like with any litter we don’t wanna see that so, you know, anytime someone can pick it up put it in the trashcan that’s gonna be better for everyone,” Trussell said.

One environmental advocate says PPE is one of the reasons plastic is necessary.

“PPE and other medical uses of plastic are really great reasons why plastic should still be a part of the conversation and why it is OK to use plastic because those are things that promote safety and health for customers and for employees and for businesses and that’s really important,” Minot Environmental Advocate Tim Baumann said.

But, there are ways you can stay safe while being mindful of your plastic usage.

“If you have access to a reusable washable mask do it. Not only is it a better higher quality product and more effective but it also is a lot more fashionable it’s reusable you’re not having to continually throw things away,” Baumann said.

“Let’s say you get something to go if you don’t need the silverware, you know, tell them we don’t need silverware we’ve got that at home if you’re taking it to go or straws if you don’t need to use a straw, don’t ask for one,” Trussell said.

While some places have stopped allowing the use of reusable fabric bags, it’s still good policy to ask.

“That’s one thing here we pride ourselves on the great outdoors environment and we want to encourage people to get out ya know while socially distancing with that, but who wants to or how do you enjoy that when there’s all sorts of litter on the ground with it so it’s all about protecting our environment while protecting ourselves,” Trussell said.

If you are unsure of how to properly dispose of PPE, you can contact the Department of Environmental Quality by clicking here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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