Councillor for Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank Natalie Don is calling for residents around Renfrewshire to bin their used face masks.

Wearing face masks in Renfrewshire is advised while you shop, use a variety of services, in some workplaces and when travelling on public transport. This is of course all in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus around our local community.

This has meant that the uptake in people wearing face masks has increased significantly over recent months. Many people have chosen to invest in reusable face masks however a large proportion of people are still opting for single use disposable face masks.

Councillor Don is urging Renfrewshire residents to bin their used masks or wear reusable face masks, in order to keep our streets and parks clean, cut waste and maintain public health. The Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland are highlighting reusable coverings as the preferred method of keeping people safe.

Shop-bought and homemade face coverings, as well as other items such as snoods, can all be effectively used to slow the spread of the virus. These should be at least two layers thick and preferably three.

Evidence suggests face coverings have particular value in crowded and less well-ventilated spaces, and where physical distancing of two metres is not possible. It is recommended that reusable face coverings are washed on the highest setting suitable for the fabric, preferably 60 degrees centigrade, after every use. Face coverings should only be hand washed if a washing machine is unavailable. For hand washing, lather face coverings for at least 20 seconds using warm to hot water before drying ideally putting in a dryer. Iron face coverings on the cotton or linen setting to kill any remaining germs.

Cllr Don told Renfrewshire News: “Walking around our streets it is becoming increasingly obvious that some people have developed a habit of dumping their used single-use face coverings, littering our streets. This is an extreme health hazard due to coronavirus.”

“Not only is this damaging our environment but it is leaving litter on the ground for Renfrewshire Council’s Streetscene staff and our amazing Team Up to Clean Up volunteers to pick up. This is putting those people at unnecessary risk. This is now something we have chosen to highlight as part of the Team Up campaign in an effort to make people think twice about dropping their used face masks and gloves.”

Photo: Cllr Natalie Don taking part in a community Team Up to Clean-up last year

“Please, if you are using a single use face covering can you please dispose of this in your residual waste bin at home. I would emphasise that single-use face coverings do provide people with suitable protection and if this is your only option then please continue to use them however if you are able, I would urge everyone to use a reusable face covering, following Scottish Government guidance on suitable protection.”

“Having a face covering that can be used time and again uses fewer materials and is less likely to be discarded so easily. This will help keep our local areas safe and clean while protecting our environment.”