Canada's First PPE Recycling Program

The problem

Medical PPE

is used as a protective barrier against COVID-19 and is strongly recommended across all Canadian provinces.

63,000 tonnes

of medical PPE will end up in Canadian landfills by the end 
of 2021.

Thats enough PPE to go

to the moon 6.5x

or about 2,500,000km

The Solution

Used masks and respirators are disposed of in designated Vitacore Recycling Bins. Used masks and respirators are then transported to the Recycling Facility.

First, masks are then sanitized at a high heat. They are then sorted, shredded, and prepared for melting. The shredded and processed pieces are then melted down and made into polypropylene pellets.

Lastly, the polypropylene pellets are then repurposed into construction material such as building materials, concrete reinforcement, and textiles.

Step 1

Masks and respirators are used to protect our community

Step 2

Used masks an respirators are disposed to Vitacore bins

Step 3

Vitacore bins are collected and safely transported to a facility

Step 4

Used masks and respirators are sorted and sterilized through a high heat process

Step 5

Sterilized used masks and respirators are melted down into polypropylene pellets

Step 6

Polypropylene pellets are repurposed (e.g. construction material)

Why We Recycle

VITACORE LAUNCHES CANADA’S FIRST RECYCLING PROGRAM FOR SINGLE-USE MASKS AND RESPIRATORS

The end-to-end pilot program aims to reduce the pollution in Canada’s landfills and create a more sustainable future

Vancouver, B.C. – In partnership with McMaster University and the University of British Columbia, Vitacore Industries Inc. is launching Canada’s first single-use mask and respirator end-to-end recycling program aimed at reducing the environmental impact of single-use PPE. The pilot program officially  launched across Metro Vancouver on February 1st providing PPE recycling bins at Long Term Care and Urgent Care Facilities at no cost including City Centre Urgent and Primary Care Centre in downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver Urgent and Primary Care Centre. This program provides front-line workers with the opportunity to recycle their single-use face masks and CAN95 respirators and will be expanded to include bins across the country.  
Once collected, the single-use masks and respirators will be sterilized by Vitacore before being sent to McMaster University to be broken down, repalletized and given a second life. Polypropylene, the plastic used in single-use masks and respirators, can be manufactured into construction materials used to reinforced concrete or siding for buildings, reducing the amount of waste heading to landfills. Furthermore, to expand the possible uses for the repalletized materials, ongoing research is still being conducted by McMaster University.
According to Vitacore president Mikhail Moore, “Over 63,000 tons of Covid-19 related single-use masks and respirators will be used over the next year in Canada, significantly contributing to the pollution in our landfills and oceans. Vitacore is committed to not only providing the highest quality PPE to Canadians, but also to a sustainable future”.
“From product conception to point of use and disposal, we are developing a blueprint for maximizing sustainability in the life cycle of polyolefin based PPE products.” Says Yang Fei, Director of Research and Development at Vitacore.
Vitacore was created in Canada, by Canadian innovators to support Canadian healthcare professionals during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2020 Vitacore became the first Canadian company to receive Health Canada authorization to produce N95 equivalent respirators, CAN95s, on home soil. Helmed by local business leaders, the privately-held company has quickly grown to a team of over 75 employees including engineers and medical professionals at its state of the art facility in Burnaby, BC. 
"Environmental sustainability is one of the thematic pillars for research at McMaster's Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials (CEPEM). This project illustrates the innovative approaches the centre is taking, along with its partners, to advance long-term sustainable use of PPEs by the public and healthcare workers," says Ravi Selvaganapathy, CEPEM's director and Canada Research Chair in Biomicrofluidics. This month, CEPEM received $1.2M in funding from the Government of Ontario to expand its testing infrastructure and partnerships with Canadian companies, such as Vitacore.
For more information on Vitacore and the PPE recycling program, please contact us .

Our Programs

Community Program

Use
• Work Places
• Schools
• Community Centres
Sizes
• Small
• Medium
• Large
Waste Reduction
300-1,625 disposable masks and respirators

Hospital Program

Use
• Hospitals
• Medical Clinics
Sizes
• Large with foot pedal
Waste Reduction
2,000 disposable masks and respirators

Industrial Program

Use
• Warehouses
Sizes
• Pallet
Waste Reduction
20,000 disposable masks and respirators

Recycling FAQ

Other PPE recycling companies cannot accept from Hospitals. Are you able to collect from hospitals and medical facilities?

Yes! We pride ourselves on the fact that we can partner with all hospitals and medical care facilities as we understand these are where high numbers of personal protective equipment are used. We have specially designed programs for these. Reach out to us at recycling@vitacore.ca if you are a health care facility looking to get started recycling single use items.

What sizes are your bins?

For community bins: Small: 25.4x 25.4x38cm (10x10x15 in) Medium: 30x30x71cm (12x12x28in) Large: 45.7x45.7x86.4cm (18x18x34in)

Can I send you my masks for recycling?

Unfortunately at this time we cannot accept individuals to mail in their masks. This is why we have created the personal sized bins, to allow individuals to collect these items from their homes or workplaces and send them back themselves. We are actively looking for solutions to make this more accessible to the public.

Where are your bins located? Can we drop them off somewhere?

Currently we only supply recycle bins to people, businesses, and organizations that have enrolled with our program. Our bins are available across Canada in hopes to reduce PPE waste.

Where do used masks end up right now?

Canada alone is set to produce over 63,000 tons of PPE waste during the pandemic. Like most other single-use plastic products, there are three typical destinations for these products: landfills, incineration, or floating in the oceans.

What are the plastic pellets used for?

Polypropylene (PP) is a durable plastic that has many uses and applications. Our main user groups are in building and construction supplies where they produce products such as concrete reinforcement, weather membranes, and exterior sidings. Another large user is the textiles industry, they use it for carpeting and a wide range of structural fabrics.

How are the used masks recycled?

Collected PPE travels through a series of machines that will sterilize, compact, and reprocess the polypropylene into pellets. The first step sterilizes and compacts the materials into a dense mixture of plastic and aluminum. Those blocks are then fed into a machine that shreds it into smaller fragments to allow for the separation of materials. Finally, the polypropylene fragments are processed and turned into plastic pellets.

What type of masks can you recycle? Do you take any other PPE?

The masks we can recycle are Vitacore CAN95 and CAN99 respirators or Vitacore surgical masks, other companies’ disposable 3-layer surgical masks, and 4- or 5-layer KN95 or N95 respirators. We can also collect hairnets, as well as polypropylene isolation gowns. We recommend connecting with our team if you are curious about a specific item and we can help to determine if this can be accepted.