Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Partnership Formed to Combat PPE Waste

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 3:00 PM

The Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, and Keep Tennessee Beautiful announced a three-way partnership on Tuesday, August 18th. The partnership aims to reduce personal protective equipment litter and educate the public on proper PPE and single-use mask disposal.

“This partnership is a response to a rise in PPE litter, which TDOT has begun to notice on rights-of-way, and how we, as state agencies, can work together to share one impactful message,” TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright said.

click to enlarge TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright
  • TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright

Through the partnership, the groups will release a series of posts highlighting proper PPE disposal. Posts and additional messaging will be shared electronically by all three entities and made available through KTnB and their statewide network of affiliates. Proper PPE disposal has also been worked into TDOT’s “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” litter prevention campaign.

All social media posts will center around three main points:

  • Single-use masks, gloves, and wipes should not be placed into any recycling containers or disposed of on the ground. Improper disposal creates health and environmental hazards.

  • All PPE should be properly disposed of in a trash receptacle.

  • Wearing a reusable or cloth mask instead of single-use masks can reduce the amount of PPE waste going to landfills and help fight the spread of COVID-19.

“In these unusual times, unusual problems arise, and the litter of personal protective equipment is an example,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “We encourage all Tennesseans to be mindful of this issue and maintain their commitment to the beauty of our state. We are grateful to TDOT and Keep Tennessee Beautiful for their partnership in this effort.”

TDOT spends $15 million annually on litter pickup and prevention education. Through its efforts, the amount of roadside litter has decreased by 43 percent since 2006. Despite this, nearly 100 million pieces of litter occur on Tennessee roadsides at any given time.

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