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How to Dispose of Nitrile Gloves?

Disposing of Gloves

Nitrile Gloves

How to dispose of nitrile gloves is important to ensure you - and others - stay safe.

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You’ve finished using your gloves – now what do you do with them?

You can’t reuse your disposable nitrile gloves, even though they look like they’re still in great condition after being worn once.

Why can’t you reuse disposable gloves?

After a few hours of wear, disposable gloves start to lose their strength and their protective barrier starts to degrade. This means you won’t be protected against injuries, chemicals, and viruses.

That leaves you with the question of how to dispose of nitrile gloves. It should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway: never, ever, throw your used gloves on the ground so that someone else can deal with them!

Be more responsible – here are tips on how to dispose of nitrile gloves safely.

Should You Throw Them Away? 

If your gloves are contaminated, such as because they’ve been exposed to germs, you’ll want to ensure that you throw them away properly.

You can do this in the rubbish bin, but just make sure you close the garbage bin lid.

Or, go one step further to ensure no one can become contaminated by the gloves by putting them in a bag and tying a knot before throwing that bag into the trash. While not as biodegradable as latex, nitrile will break down in landfills so it can go into the trash. 

However, before you throw your gloves away in a bin located outside a supermarket, bear in mind the best bin in which to dispose of your nitrile gloves is a bin that has a plastic liner.

This is because disposed gloves can break and tear into smaller pieces, which makes them difficult to pick up and throw away – and no one should have to be trying to pick up your dirty, possibly contaminated, gloves. Rather put the used gloves in a plastic bag and throw it out in your trash once you get home.

You might not have thought about it, but if you throw your gloves without ensuring you’ve done so safely, these gloves could end up in the environment and even the oceans, where they produce pollution and can be harmful to wildlife.

For examples, small pieces of nitrile or latex from disposable gloves can be mistaken for food by birds, and result in their injury or death.

How You Remove Your Gloves Is Important

Removing Gloves

It’s not just where you dispose of your used gloves that’s important but also how you do so.

You have to take care to remove your gloves properly so that you reduce the chance that they could contaminate others, such as the people who have to collect the trash. In order to ensure that your gloves are not dangerous to others, make sure you remove them properly.

With one hand, pinch your glove at the wrist and peel it away from your hand, making sure to turn it inside out as you do so. You can find out more about how to safely remove your disposable gloves by reading, “How To Properly Remove Gloves.” 

Once your gloves have been removed, you should end up with one glove inside the other and both inside out, as this makes them easier to handle without the risk of bacteria or viruses on the outside of the gloves coming into contact with people.

Are Nitrile Gloves Hazardous Waste? 

What can make gloves hazardous waste is if they’ve come into contact with dangerous chemicals, such as in a science lab.

This is why they need to be disposed of correctly.

However, the sad thing about glove disposal by laboratories or people who work with chemicals is that they usually end up in the trash and this – alarmingly – makes up a quarter of the waste that labs send to the trash every year. More  needs to be done to ensure that nitrile gloves can be recycled. 

Biohazardous waste is something else to consider. It includes anything that’s come into contact with infectious substances, such as blood. Examples of items that can be contaminated with biohazardous waste include syringes and needles.

If your gloves have come into contact with bodily fluids, then they are considered to be hazardous waste and you must be careful not to leave them lying around where they can harm others.

Don’t Leave Disposable Nitrile Gloves In The Household Bin 

Household Bin

While you might think it’s safe to throw your disposable gloves in the kitchen or bathroom bin in your home where they will remain for days, this is not safe.

It’s better to put them out into the trash bin so that they’re ready for garbage collection. This prevents the contaminants on the gloves from coming into contact with anyone or spreading germs around the home.

You might only be worried about preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but there are many other viruses and bacteria that could be on the gloves!

Are Disposable Gloves Sterile? 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that disposable gloves can contain bacteria before they’re even used!

Research has found that unused gloves can be contaminated by bacteria – up to 10,000 bacteria per glove!

Why is this the case?

Disposable gloves are non-sterile so they could have bacteria growing on them after they’ve been packaged. To make matters worse, if the manufacturing process involves a lack of hygiene, then this can exacerbate the problem.

Related Questions 

Can you wash and reuse disposable gloves?

This is not recommended because it will degrade the gloves and can cause tears in them, which will increase your risk of contamination while wearing the gloves. 

Are there any times when you can reuse disposable gloves?

If you’re using the gloves around the home for light housework or arts and crafts, you might get away with reusing a pair of disposable gloves.

However, even in these cases, you should never reuse any gloves that are damaged or have come into contact with viruses, chemicals, or solvents.


Disposing of Gloves in Bin

If you’ve worn your disposable nitrile gloves once, they’ve unfortunately reached the end of their lifespan and you should never try to breathe new life into them.

You’ll have to dispose of them. In this article, we’ve featured information about how to safely dispose of your nitrile gloves.


University of Washington

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