The last 15+ months has seen countries across the world try to mitigate against the threat of the Covid-19 virus. This has meant that vast quantities of plastic waste has been generated on top of the plastic waste generated before the crisis.
A recent paper estimates that that approximately 3.4 billion single-use face masks/face shields are discarded daily as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, globally.¹
It has been heartbreaking to walk across remote areas of Cornwall and see dozens of disposable masks left lying on the grass or by the roadside.
According to the UN, if historical data is a reliable indicator, it can be expected that 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.²
That’s why it is more important than ever to keep up the fight against excess plastic waste.
We are all hoping that the pandemic will be over as quickly as possible and that we can get back to normal and see each other’s smiling faces again! In the meantime, it is up to all of us to try and reduce the amount of plastic waste reaching our seas and causing damage to the environment.
Hopefully, in June, the government will announce, as promised that we will be in a position where we no longer have to wear masks. Until then, we can all do our bit by collecting any rubbish we see out and about that is littering the hedgerows or roadsides, as we know that the majority of this will end up in our oceans. In fact the UN has said, that if no action is taken, the amount of plastics dumped into the ocean will triple by 2040, from 11 to 29 million tonnes per year.³
Avoid wearing a disposable mask, seek a re-usable one. A report from December 2020 suggests that only 10% of the UK population were using a reusable mask, and in the UK alone, 53 million masks are ending up in landfill EVERY DAY!4
If you are venturing out this summer on a British staycation, or further afield, why not take part in a local beach clean? Cornish charity Surfers Against Sewage, organise frequent beach cleans in Cornwall and all across the Country. You can check out their website for details of upcoming beach cleans, or they also can guide you through how to organise your own beach clean or litter pick in your area.
It is difficult in times of crisis to keep the focus on things like keeping an eye on the plastic waste you generate, as our priorities naturally change. But as things head back to normality, we all need to do are bit and get back to the good habits we worked so hard to form in the last few years.
Thanks again for all of your support of our plastic free business this last three years, we really appreciate it!