Can You Recycle Latex Gloves

Can You Recycle Latex Gloves?

It isn’t uncommon nowadays for people to have a few latex gloves laying around the home. So, can they be recycled?

Latex gloves cannot be recycled. This is because they are typically used as protection from hazardous materials and there also isn’t much to be gained by recycling them. Luckily, you can safely throw them in the trash and they will break down in the landfill pretty quickly.

Let’s take a look. But, before we do, we want to talk a little bit about what latex actually is.

What is Latex?

It may feel like it, but latex is not actually plastic. Rather than being made from oil, it is a natural rubber that comes from the rubber tree.

Now, the main reason why we have to recycle plastic is that there is a finite amount of oil in the ground. It is rapidly depleting each day and it won’t be long before it runs out. Rubber trees, however, providing they are grown properly are a 100% renewable resource. We will always have access to rubber.

Are Latex Gloves Environmentally Friendly?
Latex gloves are made from natural plant-based products. They are also biodegradable making them one of the most environmentally friendly disposable hand protection available.
The manufacturing process to create new plastics is incredibly intense too. It pumps a lot of pollution into the atmosphere. As a result, we want to reduce the amount of new plastic that is being produced. This either accomplished by reducing the amount of plastic that we consume or by recycling used plastics. Preferably, both.

While the latex industry does produce a small amount of pollution, it is a negligible amount in comparison to the plastic industry. This is actually why you should be wearing latex gloves as opposed to PVC gloves, particularly since the latter offers far less protection.

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Can Latex Gloves Be Recycled?

Latex gloves cannot be recycled. They are unlikely to ever be recycled too.

This is, in part, down to the fact that there is no real need for us to prioritize the recycling of latex when the product has such a negligible impact on this planet. It would be better for recycling companies to really focus on the recycling of plastics and improving the processes there.

Recycling Latex Gloves

Another reason why latex gloves are unlikely to ever be recycled is due to their use. Let’s be honest, the vast majority of people are using latex gloves as protection.

This means all sorts of grime, diseases, and what have you gets on the latex gloves. The last thing people want is to throw this into a recycling machine. It would take an astonishing number of resources to completely purify the latex.

If you take your latex gloves to the local recycling center, then they will turn you away. They will never have the facilities to be able to accept them.

How Often Should You Change Gloves?
The best practices for latex glove changing recommends changing them every 4-6 hours. This time can change based on the type of substance you’re working with. If you tear, or otherwise damage your gloves, you should change them immediately!

What Should You Do With Your Old Latex Gloves?

As we said, recycling centers will not accept latex gloves. If they do, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are not going to be recycled.

Instead, they are going to be heading to the landfill. The recycling centers will always have a place set aside for items that they cannot recycle. However, they probably prefer if you didn’t take latex gloves to them in the first place.

So, if you can’t recycle them, what can you do with them? Well, you are left with little choice but to add them to your trash can so that they can be taken to the local landfill.

Now, we would normally never suggest putting something into a trash can and having it sent to the landfill if it can be avoided. Sadly, it can’t be with latex gloves.

Thankfully, because they are made from an organic material, they are not going to have any negative impact in the landfill. They will break down within a few months, and you do not have to worry about them leaking chemicals and the like into the surrounding environment. In fact, proper latex is a very environmentally-friendly material.

Can You Compost Your Old Latex Gloves?


Because latex gloves are made from natural materials, they can be added to your compost heap. Over time, they are going to make a tremendous fertilizer. It should probably take only a few months for the latex gloves to break down.

However, do bear in mind that if you are using latex gloves to protect from diseases and the like, you probably shouldn’t be throwing them into your compost heap. After all, the disease could potentially grow in that compost heap.

Sure, the risk is going to be minimal. However, do you really want to take that risk? The last thing you want is to be throwing diseased compost all over your plants.

You should also try to avoid putting your latex gloves in the compost heap if you have been using them as protection for painting and varnishing. Again, this is going to have a negative impact on the compost. This, of course, is going to be the absolute last thing you want to have happen.

Are Powdered Gloves Banned?
Many countries have banned powdered gloves, these include:
– United States of America (banned since June 2016)

– China (banned since January 2017)

– Canada (banned since October 2017)

They can pose health risks because they can release harmful or irritating particles into the air.

Can You Reuse Latex Gloves?

No. Latex gloves are designed to be single-use. Once you have worn them, the fibers in the latex gloves will start to break down.

This means very tiny holes (you won’t be able to see them simply by looking at the gloves) will start to form. Once this happens, the latex gloves will no longer offer any protection.

We know that there are some people that will wash their gloves and reuse them in a bid to make their latex gloves go as far as they can. However, we seriously do urge you not to do that. It can be dangerous.

Plus, latex gloves are so cheap and are biodegradable there really is no need to try and make them go as far as possible.


Latex gloves are not recyclable. Thankfully, because latex gloves are made from organic material, they break down easily once they do head to a landfill. If you are feeling particularly thrifty, then you could easily add them to your compost heap.

They will break down eventually. It is unlikely that latex gloves will ever be recyclable, so just put them in your trash can. It is completely fine, and you are not going to be doing any damage to the environment when you do that.