MARQUETTE – The Department of Safety at Northern Michigan University received two chairs made from recycled nitrile gloves, a thank you gift for participating in RightCycle’s personal protective equipment recycling program.
NMU has diverted more than 500 pounds of single-use glove waste from the landfill in 2020 and is preparing to ship another box weighing around 300 pounds.
Kimberly-Clark, who sponsors the RightCycle program, collects previously hard-to-recycle items such as protective clothing, safety glasses, and nitrile gloves and turns them into new consumer products ranging from patio furniture and pot pots. flowers to plastic shelves.
âThey had such a good year recycling PPE that they reached out to partners across the country with a list of products made from recycled materials that we could choose from. “ said Kim Hegmegee, occupational health and environmental specialist at NMU. âThe chairs look great and even have cup holders that swing under the armrest. We set up a home for them in our office and checked out a solar light from the Olson Library to put near them as a small wellness area.
The chairs will serve as a visual reminder of Northern’s ongoing commitments to sustainability and social responsibility, as outlined in its strategic plan. NMU began its partnership with RightCycle in fall 2020, anticipating increased use of single-use gloves as a COVID-19 precaution.
The security service purchased blue collection bins to place on campus, from “Intensive use” chemistry, biology and nursing laboratories.
“This year it was on my radar that the new indoor farming program should also have a baccalaureate”, said Hegmegee. âBut before I had a chance to go through with it, one of the students in the program actually tracked me down and contacted me to request one. It was really cool because it showed awareness and initiative on the part of our students.
NMU Security collects used gloves and stores them in Gaylord pallet boxes. When the boxes are full, they are shipped to a Kimberly-Clark recycling partner in Millwood, West Virginia, where they are made into plastic pellets and molded into products.