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Waste from single-use disposable masks are clogging beaches, oceans and waterways

Masks have proven essential to slowing the spread of the Coronavirus, but the disposal of the single-use variety is proving a to be a huge public and planetary health risk.

"More Masks than Jellyfish" June 8, 2020

It's estimated that the production and sales of disposable masks will total $166billion this year (compared to $800million in 2019). 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."

These disposable masks don't just disappear. Most contain plastics like polypropylene and will remain in the environment for around 450 years. Inevitably, these will be ingested by marine animals and will eventually make their way into our food supply.

Gloves, masks have been collected around France’s Côte d’Azur. Photograph: Courtesy Operation Terre-Mer

What can you do? We suggest investing in reusable, washable cotton cloth masks that can be worn and washed 100s of times. Check out how Cost Per Wear is less with a cloth, reusable face mask!

- Karri Ann Frerichs


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