With face coverings being mandatory in many public spaces across the globe, we have now begun to see the environmental impacts that they may have for generations to come. They have been spotted in our oceans, entangled in our animals and across beaches, parks and the streets. It is important to dispose of your face masks properly or find an alternative mask covering option to avoid more waste, landfill and littering.
Dispose of your Face Mask Properly
Over the long-term if face masks are not disposed of properly we will see to significantly more plastic waste smothering our forests, beaches and oceans. Animals become at greater risk of choking or becoming entangled in these plastic items.
You can simply do your bit by ensuring that these are thrown away properly and not discarded on the street. Take your disposable mask home (in a safe container or bag if it has been removed) and then dispose of it straight into the bin or a public bin. Yep as simple as that.
Face masks cannot be recycled. If they are placed in recycling accidentally it is putting waste workers at risk of infection or damaging recycling systems.
Cut the Strings
You can also take this one step further by cutting the strings from your disposable face masks. This will decrease the risk of animals getting entangled in surgical face masks if they do end up in our environment they will be less likely to be at risk of harming our wildlife.
Reusable Face Masks
A way to avoid throwing away face masks entirely is to make your own! Or invest in a reusable fabric face mask. Not only will this help you save money in the long run but will also help our health care professionals, as surgical facemasks still remain in high demand and in short supply. Reusable masks can be personally customised and will last longer if cared for properly.
Don’t forget to wash in hot soapy water at 60C after every use!
See this link to make your own face masks from home!
By following these three simple measures you are helping to reduce your environmental impact during this pandemic. What are some other ways to reduce waste or your environmental impact during the pandemic?