coronavirus illinois

Discarded Masks and Gloves Litter Chicago Streets, Risk Spread

Bright blue gloves have begun to appear on the streets of Chicago, and experts have an important message about how to dispose of them.

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Face masks and gloves help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but without proper disposal, used masks and gloves could cause the virus to spread, according to experts.

Discarded masks and gloves have been spotted on the ground all over Chicago, one even found wrapped around a goose’s leg.

"I think [people] are getting out of the store and ripping these things off," said Carter O'Brien, sustainability officer at the Field Museum. "Someone has to pick those up."

O'Brien, also the vice president of the Chicago Recycling Coalition, said these kinds of materials are considered medical hazardous waste and not properly disposing of them is problematic.

Waste management workers are urging people to throw personal protective equipment in the garbage, not the recycling bins.

Jordan Berkley, employee at Groot Industries Waste Management Services, said he could be at risk when picking up used protective gear.

"Those items cannot be recycled," Berkley said. "If there is any shadow of a doubt, just throw it away. Throw it out."

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