Environmentalists urge Russia to abandon the use of shoe covers

Environmentalists urge the Russian authorities to give up on the use of shoe covers in public institutions, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper said.

Members of the Green Party submitted such a proposal to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Alexandra Kudzagova, the chair of the Moscow branch of the party, believes that one should abandon the use of shoe covers for environmental reasons. Such a measure would help reduce the amount of non-recyclable plastic.

Shoe covers are not the most effective means of protection against dirt and germs in healthcare institutions. Shoe covers very often tear and leak, she noted. If Moscow clinics refuse from their use, it will be possible to cut the amount of non-recyclable plastic by 275,000 tons a year.

Shoe covers are categorised as Class A medical waste that implies strict collection, accumulation and disposal standards. For example, they must be packaged in special disposable bags, the collection container must be marked accordingly.

Starting from 2017, it is impossible to bury polymer waste, from which shoe covers are made, on specialised municipal solid waste landfills. Used shoe covers should thus be sorted and disposed of according to plastic waste management rules.

"However, shoe covers are not suitable for recycling as they have rubber seals,” the ecologist said.

As an alternative, Kudzagova suggested using shoe cleaning devices at the entrance to the building, such as modern high-quality door moisture-absorbing and dirt-proof coverings. In addition, mopping floors more frequently will help reduce plastic waste while maintaining cleanliness.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov