Households are being urged to throw disposable protective wear such as face masks and gloves into the general waste bin and not try to recycle them.

Watford Borough Council is urging people to dispose of their protective wear “considerately” after the Environmental Services Association (ESA) warned such items are not recyclable.

The ESA, which represents major private recycling and waste management companies, along with the packaging industry and Government bodies, said "it is impossible to tell whether they (protective wear) are infected or not once they appear at recycling facilities - causing unnecessary alarm".

Now, Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor has stressed that disposable masks, gloves and other protective equipment “cannot be recycled”.

People in the borough are being urged to double bag their used protective equipment before throwing it away in a non-recyclable bin.

Mr Taylor said: “Disposable masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) cannot be recycled. We are urging residents to dispose of them considerately.

“If you, or someone you live with, have symptoms of Covid-19, please double bag your used PPE and store it safely for 72 hours. Once this time has passed, you can throw it in your black non-recyclable bin. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Please be considerate of others .”

Veoila, the council’s environmental services partner, echoed Mr Taylor’s comments, saying that safety is a “top priority”.

A spokesperson said: "Face masks and gloves are not recyclable. Our advice to Watford residents is that if they are wearing masks or gloves to protect themselves, they must dispose of them in the general waste bin, in a double bag, to protect our waste collection teams and the environment.

“The safety of the Watford community and our frontline staff is our top priority, and we continue to work with Watford Borough Council to ensure residents have all the information they need during these challenging times."