29 May 2020, Bangkok – Research & Innovation for Sustainability Center (RISC) by MQDC has presented innovative research-based "Red Zip-Lock Bags" for disposing of used masks during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Under its mission of “For All Well-Being” for the sustainable well-being of all life, MQDC is countering infection risk by distributing 150,000 bags.
Whizdom Club members, residents of MQDC projects, and civil society will receive a total of 50,000. Through the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Bangkok, MQDC will give another 100,000 to communities and the general public.
"Used masks are classed as infectious waste because secretions from coughing and sneezing can spread disease,” said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Singh Intrachooto, Chief Advisor to RISC.
“They pose a high risk of spreading infection, especially to garbage collectors, so it is essential they are disposed of correctly. The ‘Red Zip-Lock Bags’ are an innovation for sustainability or ‘sustainnovation’ that addresses the issue. The high visibility of the bags, in particular, protects garbage collectors from the risk of infection."
Mr. Sakchai Boonma, Deputy Governor of Bangkok, said that he would like to thank RISC and MQDC for helping Bangkok.
Bangkok’s infectious waste comes mostly from hospitals and is incinerated. The Nong Kham waste disposal center can handle up to 42 tons of infectious waste daily and the Onnut center can process 60 tons. The campaign will promote correct disposal of used masks during the outbreak. Specialized bins have been set up at 50 district offices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A RISC research team led by Ms. Panpisu Julpanwattana, Senior Sustainable Designer, and Ms. Tiptaptim Bhumibhanit, Senior Sustainable Designer, researched why many used masks are thrown away in general trash.
A survey of 2,250 people found that 90.4% are aware that discarded masks affect the environment and pose an infection risk. But only 22.3% of respondents dispose of them in infectious waste bins. The study found that 70% of respondents dispose of masks incorrectly because they cannot find a bin for infectious trash, while 24.4% do not know where to dispose of them.
RISC therefore developed the "Red Zip-Lock Bags". The bags let garbage collector identify used masks and dispose of them correctly. The red bags are made of waterproof plastic to prevent infection and can hold several masks. Written text can also be added for users to thank and encourage garbage collectors.
Explore RISC’s work at www.risc.in.th