Source: © Pakutaso

The Proper Way to Dispose of Surgical Masks

It’s not uncommon to see many Japanese people wearing masks in public places during the winter season. This is to protect against catching a cold or the flu, among other reasons talked about in this previous article.

And if you haven’t heard by now, the spread of Coronavirus continues in Japan. The number of new coronavirus infections was reported to be more than 355 on Sunday, February 16, many of those being quarantined aboard a cruise ship in Yokohama.

The first death in Japan by the new coronavirus was reported to be a woman in her 80’s from Kanagawa Prefecture.

Due to the fear of increased infections across Japan, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Disaster Response Division @MPD_bousai tweeted that “It’s not only important to wear masks, but to properly dispose of them as well.”

Certainly a used surgical mask or tissue left in a trash bin can be a breeding ground for all sorts of germs and sickness. So it makes sense to wrap the masks up tightly in plastic to keep the germs from spreading any further.

Some Twitter users responded thankfully to @MPD_bousai’s advice with posts like:

  • “I didn’t know I should wrap up my mask in plastic before I throw it away. I’ll be careful from now on.”
  • “That’s helpful, thanks!”

But on the other hand, some users lashed back with comments like:

  • “Throwing a mask away like that every time seems pretty annoying.”
  • “Masks aren’t being sold anywhere. If I come to the police station can I get some?”
  • “As a restaurant staff member, I’d rather not have staff throwing their masks away on-site. I’d rather they take the masks home with them.”
  • And my personal favorite response:

    • “Wrap up a mask in a plastic bag? Seems like they might be picked up and resold on Mercari.”

    Although it seems ridiculous, at a time when surgical masks are almost impossible to find anywhere in Japan, there might be someone looking to swindle you with their already-used surgical mask.

    I double-checked on Mercari and surgical masks are selling for close to 4,000 yen a box.

    Screen cap by Mujo

    By - Mujo.