Can You Recycle Latex Gloves

Latex Glove Recycling: A Practical Solution for Waste Reduction

It isn’t uncommon nowadays for people to have a few latex gloves lying 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 isn’t much to be gained by recycling them. You can safely throw them in the trash, and they will break down in the landfill quickly.

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

What is Latex?

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

The main reason we have to recycle plastic is that there is a finite amount of oil in the ground. It is rapidly depleting daily and won’t be long before it runs out. Rubber trees, however, provided they are correctly grown, 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 protectors.

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 produced. This is accomplished by reducing the amount of plastic we consume or recycling used plastics. Preferably both.

While the latex industry produces a small amount of pollution, it isn’t vital compared to the plastic industry. This is why you should wear latex gloves instead of PVC gloves, particularly since the latter offers far less protection.

Can Latex Gloves Be Recycled?

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

This is partly because there is no real need for us to prioritize latex recycling when the product has such a negligible impact on this planet. It would be better for recycling companies to focus on recycling plastics and improving their processes.

Recycling Latex Gloves

Another reason why latex gloves are unlikely ever to be recycled is due to their use. The vast majority of people are using latex gloves as protection.

This means all sorts of grime, diseases, and what you get 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 purify the latex completely.

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 recommend changing them every 4-6 hours. This time can vary 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. You can bet your bottom dollar that they will not be recycled if they do.

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

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

We would typically never suggest putting something into a trash can and sending it to the landfill if it can be avoided. Sadly, it can’t be with latex gloves.

Thankfully, they are made from organic material and will not negatively impact 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. Proper latex is a very environmentally-friendly material.

Where to Recycle Latex Gloves

Recycling latex gloves is important to reduce waste and protect the environment. If you are looking to recycle your used latex gloves, there are several options available to you.

One option is to check with your local waste management facility to see if they have a program for recycling latex gloves. Many cities and towns have programs in place for recycling a variety of items, including gloves.

Another option is to check with local hospitals or medical centers. These facilities often have programs for recycling latex gloves and other medical supplies.

Additionally, businesses or organizations in your area may specialize in recycling latex gloves. These organizations typically have the necessary equipment and facilities for recycling gloves properly and may be willing to accept your used gloves for recycling.

Finally, you can also check with latex gloves manufacturers to see if they have a recycling program. Some manufacturers offer programs that allow consumers to return used gloves for recycling and may offer incentives. Recycling your latex gloves can contribute to waste reduction efforts and help protect the environment.

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 an excellent fertilizer. It should probably take only a few months for the latex gloves to break down.

However, remember that if you use latex gloves to protect from diseases, you shouldn’t throw them into your compost heap. After all, the condition could potentially grow in that compost heap.

Sure, the risk is going to be minimal. However, do you want to take that risk? The last thing you want is to throw 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 harm the compost. This, of course, is going to be the absolute last thing you want to have to 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 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 some people will wash their gloves and reuse them to make their latex gloves go as far as possible. However, we earnestly do urge you not to do that. It can be dangerous.

Plus, latex gloves are so cheap and biodegradable that there 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 quickly once they head to a landfill. If you feel thrifty, you could easily add them to your compost heap.

They will break down eventually. Latex gloves are unlikely to 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.

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