‘The New Normal’ involves having to wear masks and face coverings in almost all public spaces - a legal requirement which plays a crucial role in the steps that we are taking to try and control the spread of COVID-19.
Mitigating the fallout of the global pandemic is, of course, absolutely fundamental. However, although masks are of great help when it comes to limiting the pace of the virus’s spread, they are not a perfect solution to the problem that we face: Pollution. Unfortunately, the use of single-use, disposable face masks bring with it a whole host of unforgiveable environmental problems.
Face Mask Waste: The Problem
Even before face coverings became a legal requirement, we were beginning to see the consequences of disposable mask use. It was apparent that these once-used masks were posing a huge contribution to the pollution problem. These discarded masks could be spotted both on land and at sea and since then, the problem has only gotten worse; throwaway in a day. The issue with these disposable face masks is the staggering amount of waste that they are responsible for.
According to the historical data uploaded by United Nations, approximately around 75 per cent of the used masks, as well as other pandemic-related waste, will end up in landfills, or floating in the seas. These waste not only caused damaged to the environment but also to many other things, in areas such as tourism and fisheries. For example, it reached around $40 billion for financial cost damage.
There are fears that the COVID-19 pandemic will present a huge blockade obstructing our progress towards cutting down the world’s plastic usage. Indeed, many of these fears have already become an alarming reality.
Pollution Driven by Huge Increase in Face Mask Sales
In an alarming article published by Science magazine, the true extent of the world’s face mask waste management issue was revealed. The impact that COVID-19 has had on global plastic production includes the following facts:
- ‘Single-use face mask production in China soared to 116 million per day in February, about 12 times the usual quantity.’
- Some governments actively encourage their citizens to use disposable masks on certain occasions. As a result, ‘the World Health Organization has requested a 40% escalation of disposable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) production.’
- At the peak of the pandemic, hospitals in Wuhan were producing 6 times more single-use plastic-based medical waste (including disposable surgical masks) than before the pandemic.
- ‘Improper disposal of just 1% of face masks translates to more than 10 million items, weighing 30,000 to 40,000 kg.’
As a result, ‘If the global population adheres to a standard of one disposable face mask per day, after lockdowns end, the pandemic could result in a monthly global consumption and waste of 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves.’
The Importance to Lessen the World’s Face Mask Waste
As the issue of face mask waste becomes an ever-increasing concern, we as individuals need to take a stand and consider the direct impact that our decisions have on our planet. By choosing to use single-use masks, we are contributing to this ever-expanding global crisis.
It is key that we all educate ourselves about the true extent of the world’s plastic problem, and understand the detrimental impact of our choice of a single-use face mask. We need to recognise the importance of finding a good-quality, reusable. SUSTAINABLE mask. If these statistics alarm you, the actions that you can take to help reverse the tide of face mask waste are simple.
To lessen the world’s waste, we need to use masks that tick all the boxes - opt for a mask that is both reusable and sustainable, while also being able to provide us with daily protection from the virus.
Choosing the Right Mask
When choosing a mask, you should not have to forsake sustainability in favour of protection or vice-versa.
At Cambridge Mask Co, we take immense pride in the fact that we can help our consumers to make ethical, environmentally-conscious decisions. We are in a position to help limit pandemic-related waste, as our masks are both completely reusable, and offer an exceptional level of protection.
Our PRO masks have gone through rigorous testing procedures, and have been proven to filter 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. Furthermore, our PRO mask filters are treated with silver, which further enhances the anti-viral properties of our reusable masks.
Our Environmentally-Friendly Packaging
What’s more, along with the mask itself being a fantastic environmentally-friendly option, the packaging that we use also adheres to this same ethos. At Cambridge Mask Co, we are all about sustainability, and that is why we are committed to using eco-friendly packaging across our entire range of face masks.
If you wish to commit to using less disposable plastics in your life, you can easily take a great first step by purchasing a high quality, reusable and environmentally friendly face mask from our stores.