Rubber gloves are good protection for the hands while performing various tasks that involve chemicals. The use of rubber gloves in many industries has become common and is sometimes a requirement in specific fields, like hospitals and manufacturing companies. According to studies, the US alone dumps 300 billion disposable gloves every year. That number is quite alarming, which is why many are asking, can you recycle rubber gloves? There are several types of rubber gloves used for different purposes. However, some of it should go directly to the trash as it cannot be recycled. In this article, we will show you the most common types of rubber gloves and which kind of rubber gloves should go to the recycle bin or not.
The Different Types OF Rubber Gloves
Rubber gloves are used to do dishwashing to protect the hands from detergent and allow hot water use. It is also commonly used by medical and healthcare professionals to protect themselves and to prevent contact with substances, chemicals, or body fluids. There are different types of rubber gloves available, depending on their purpose.
- Latex Gloves – Its material is made from natural rubber, making it biodegradable. It decomposes at a faster rate compared to other types of gloves. Latex has been the most popular type of glove for decades and has a high level of flexibility, protection, and comfort. The downside of using latex gloves, however, is that it causes allergic reactions to some people. This is one reason why latex gloves are not allowed in food handling, as it may result in potential consumer or glove user allergies.
- Nitrile Gloves – this type of glove is made of non-biodegradable raw materials. Nitrile gloves became the leading latex alternative in the 1990s. Although this type is not elastic compared to latex gloves, nitrile gloves are more durable and resistant to chemicals. They are also ideal to use in most medical environments as they are puncture-resistant and eliminate latex-allergy issues.
- Vinyl Gloves – this type non-biodegradable and is made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC and plasticizers. Vinyl gloves are inexpensive to manufacture; hence they are less durable than latex and nitrile gloves and offer limited protection from chemical or biomedical exposure. Another downside of this type of glove is that its main component, the PVC, can have dangerous effects on human health and the environment.
- Dishwashing Rubber Gloves – the term “rubber gloves” here is a little misleading as this type of glove commonly used in the kitchen has little to no rubber at all. It is made from a form of petro-chemical based plastic, which won’t break down in the environment easily.
These four are the most common types of rubber gloves. Now that we have discussed the types of gloves, we’ll answer some common questions: can you recycle rubber gloves? Are latex gloves recyclable? Can you recycle medical gloves? Keep on reading to know more about these rubber gloves.
Can You Recycle Rubber Gloves?
Billions of rubber gloves are dumped every year from various industries worldwide. Disposing of them is one thing that needs to be discussed as some of them are used in hazardous and contaminated environments and may become a potential risk to human health and the environment.
Latex gloves, unlike nitrile, cannot be recycled. However, recently, several companies and organizations, like TerraCycle, make recycling all types of rubber gloves, be it latex, nitrile, vinyl, or rubber kitchen gloves, possible. They separate the waste into various forms, melt them, and turn them into new recycled plastic products. You can buy their Zero Waste Box, and it will be sent to you via direct post. When the box is full of rubber gloves, you can mail it back to them, and they’ll do the recycling for you.
On the other hand, your kitchen rubber gloves can serve different purposes once it gets worn out. When you ask, can you recycle rubber gloves, and you’re pertaining to your kitchen gloves, well, the simple answer is yes. You sure can place it in the Zero Waste Box, but there are several ways you can recycle and reuse them at home. Here are some:
- They can be used as heavy-duty rubber bands.
- Use them as plant ties.
- Use to assist in opening tight jar lids.
- Use as non-slip pads for vases.
- It can be used for gardening work if they only have small holes.
Knowing the different types of gloves can help you choose the right one suitable for your need and purpose. It also enables you to understand what these materials are made from and help mother nature by responsibly disposing and recycling them. Share this article with friends and family so the next time someone asks, can you recycle rubber gloves, you’ll know what to say. Learn more about rubber gloves here!