Whilst Plastic Free Chesterfield completely supports the need for equipment such as face coverings to keep us safe during these testing times, we, along with many other NGO’s and governments, are concerned about how single-use masks and gloves are being disposed of – and what this means for our planet.
The problem is that most medical face masks are made from layers of plastics and are designed to be single-use. Sales of single-use masks have gone through the roof, with prices sky-rocketing and many online retailers selling out. Inevitably – many of these are ending up polluting our streets and washing into our oceans.
According to an analysis by scientists at University College London, if every person in the UK used one single-use mask each day for a year, an extra 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste. So, a whole load more plastic pollution and ten times more climate change impact than if we #choosetoreuse and wear reusable masks instead.
Plastic Free Chesterfield want to make it clear that the Government and the World Health Organisation have said that reusable face coverings are safe to use, as long as they are washed after each use.
Using a washable, reusable face mask means that supplies of clinical PPE remain available for the people on the frontline who really need them. And we can massively reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste being created.
And if you want to make your own mask, there’s a great guide here from City to Sea