The aim is to collect 100 kilos of the protective element, i.e. about 20,000 chapsticks. UdeC together with the company Softys is in charge of transforming the waste.

Faced with the decision of the health authority to make the use of masks more flexible, but maintaining their obligatory use in health centers, the Municipality of Chiguayante started a program for the recycling of masks, which is part of an agreement signed with the Technological Development Unit (UDT) of the Universidad de Concepción. In addition to the containers located in the Eloísa Díaz and Pinares clinics, six clean points will be set up to collect up to 100 kilos of masks, or some 20,000 units.

Most of the mouthpieces are plastic and once used, they become waste, since they are not biodegradable and the degradation process in the environment takes more than 450 years, generating a significant negative environmental impact, in addition to being a very bulky waste since the beginning of the pandemic.

For this process, the UDT developed a methodology for the recycling of surgical masks, which contemplates the processes of disinfection, classification, grinding and pelletizing, which allows its subsequent transformation into new plastic products, such as cutlery, flower pots, among others, a process that is carried out in conjunction with the company Softys, which performs the necessary techniques for the recycling of the masks.

The Director of the Environment, Paola Peña, indicated that this program adds a fifth recyclable waste in the commune. “This is a collaborative work between the municipality and the UDT, whose purpose is to recycle masks. This center will generate raw material for the elaboration of cups, trays, flowerpots, and in this way we remove the masks, which are a waste that is quite harmful to the environment, and we transform it into a product”, said the director of the portfolio.

The director(s) of Municipal Health, Claudio Morales, commented that environmental care should be a fundamental part of health work. “We are happy, since thanks to the management of the Environmental Department we will be able to recycle this product that has been with us for more than two years, and that we will continue to use in the health facilities in a mandatory way. We are very aware that we can take care of the environment (…) and if with that we generate this circular economy, even better”, Morales sentenced.

Source: Concepción Newspaper