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COVID-19 Resource Center

Keep America Beautiful has been in the litter prevention business for more than six decades. While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses unique challenges to us all, always keep in mind that personal protective equipment (PPE) litter is a threat to the environment and to those who clean it up.

Recycling is vitally important to our environment and economy, playing a critical role in supplying raw materials for manufacturing essential products to protect the health and welfare of the nation.

Disruptions of the raw materials supplied by recycling will cause further hardships to consumers across the nation seeking paper and packaging supplies to keep themselves and their community safe. It is critical we keep frontline recycling workers and our community safe.

It is critical we keep frontline recycling workers and our community safe, therefore whether it’s the masks and gloves we wear to the grocery store, the hand sanitizer bottle we keep handy, or the wipes we use, these items belong in the trash and not on the ground.

Helping to keep their workers, customers, and community safe, retailers are strongly encouraged to provide frequently serviced trash receptacles in highly accessible areas to prevent the littering of used PPE.

Recycling regulations may be shifting in communities due to CDC guidelines. Many communities have suspended recycling programs because of worker safety and other limitations. As always — look up what you can recycle locally.

If you or someone in your home has tested positive for the coronavirus, do not recycle your recyclables; place them in a bag that is securely closed and discard them in your trash container. This also applies to any used cleaning supplies, paper towels, tissues, or PPE generated within a home or business with someone who has tested positive.

Health and Safety

Due to reports from global health services and a study published on March 20, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine indicating the coronavirus (COVID-19) can remain viable on surfaces for an extended period of time, such as up 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic, we are advising everyone to exercise caution and use litter-collection devices, washable gloves, or frequently wash their hands when picking up litter, in small physically distancing groups or individually. Also, follow CDC sanitizing recommendations until further notice. Our primary concern and priority is the health and safety of our affiliate network, volunteers, and all Americans as they work to improve their communities. #SafetyIsBeautiful

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take in avoiding getting sick and spreading germs to others.

This is an evolving situation, and we encourage you to closely monitor reports from your state and local health departments, the CDC, and WHO.

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