VICTORIA -- It’s a problem many of us have heard about or wrestle with ourselves, what to do with our disposable masks?

Now, one local business is offering to help with that dilemma.

The Natural Hair Salon, in downtown Victoria, has a collection bin for anyone wanting to get rid of their disposable masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), such as disposable gloves and smocks.

Natalie Grunberg-Ferreira and her husband, stylist Phillip Ferreira, own the salon and say they have heard a lot of sad stories about discarded masks harming fish, wildlife and the environment and wanted to make a difference.

“We’re thinking, 'What can we do?' And this is a very simple thing we are already doing it in our salon,” said Grunberg-Ferreira, general manager of the Natural Hair Salon.

“So we’ve just brought it (the bin) outside our salon and made it accessible to the community. They can just drop their PPE and then it gets taken care of properly by Green Circle Salons. So this PPE garbage gets made into energy,” she said.

Some businesses pay for a collection bin from Green Circle Salons to collect used personal protection equipment. Once full, it gets packed up and sent back to the company where it is recycled or incinerated properly in facilities that use the energy to make electricity.

There is no cost to drop off your used disposable masks. The Natural Hair Salon is paying for the service.

“We’re used to being involved in the community, so it’s just more of the great stuff we are doing,” said Grunberg-Ferreira.

She gives credit to one of her staff members for coming up with the idea and said it was simple to do, adding that other salons that are part of the Green Circle Salon program can do it as well.

“To do something positive for the community and have people say, 'That’s really good karma,' it just lifts us up again and helps us to continue to push on,” she said.

After posting the initiative on social media, the reaction has been positive. One woman even mailed her disposable masks to the salon to be recycled, according to the general manager.

To date, the Natural Hair Salon has collected hundreds of masks though its collection program, masks that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill or the environment.

You can find the collection bin by the front alcove of the Natural Hair Salon, located at 618 View Street.

The PPE collection bin is only available during the salon’s operating hours which you can find on their website here.

While you are dropping off a disposable mask, you might also consider dropping off a toy or gift item for kids and teens of all ages for the salon’s Christmas toy drive.

The goal is to collect 500 hundred new, unwrapped toys for CFAX’s Santa’s Anonymous Society by Dec. 23.

If you drop off one or more toys, the Natural Hair Salon will enter you into a contest where you can win a prize pack for yourself. You don’t have to be a customer of the salon to donate.