MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Due to the anticipated increase in use of single-use gloves for COVID-19 precautions, NMU began participating in the RightCycle personal protection equipment recycling program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark.
They use recycling bins in high use areas like Chemistry, Biology and Nursing labs, custodial areas, dining services and trades shops to collect the gloves. Kim Hegmegee, Occupational and Environmental Health Specialist at NMU, says the student support for the program has been great and the program is going well.
“It’s a great recycle program now all those nitrile gloves we have about 70 bins out on campus collecting them and you know last quarter 287 pounds of gloves we diverted from the landfills and we will continue to do so it’s a great recycle program with Kimberly Clark,” said Hegmegee.
NMU has to pay for the shipping costs and the bins they use for collecting the gloves.
“We are responsible for purchasing our own gaylord pallet boxes,” said Hegmegee. “I have a small area back in the warehouse here at Northern, we just keep dumping our gloves in that box until it’s full and we are responsible for paying for the shipment to West Virginia that is the only cost that we have, there is no cost to be part of this program what you’re paying for is to ship the 287 pounds of gloves.”
Hegmegee says she would encourage other businesses to look into the program if they use nitrile gloves.
“It’s a pretty simple program to be a part of if you use nitrile gloves, I had a kitchen manager from a local restaurant contact me after reading the story I think that’s fantastic,” said Hegmegee. “I would encourage other small businesses, you know you don’t have to end up with darn near 300 pounds of gloves in three months, I mean maybe you come up with 100 pounds of gloves in six months it’s still 100 pounds of gloves being diverted from a landfill and making a whole new product out of it.”
The gloves are melted into pellets and then used to make new plastic products, like patio furniture, flower pots and plastic shelving