As I walked along the street and looked in the gutter, I realised that face masks had become the new cigarette butts. The pandemic has seen an enormous return to single-use items, and it is disappointing to see so much litter, as well as the exponential growth in the use of non-recyclables.
A report in the Environmental Science & Technology Journal in June said about 129 billion face masks had been used each month globally since COVID-19 started to spread. Though single-use face masks are necessary for keeping people safe, they can create a range of challenges when attempting to keep waste levels to a minimum.
You could buy or make your reusable face mask, but single-use face masks appear to be the popular choice. They provide protection, and they're cheap and convenient. Minimising the impact on the environment is important, but is playing second fiddle to the health challenges at the moment.
So, we can all do our part when we have finished using a single-use face mask. Make sure you cut the ear loops to prevent it entangling any wildlife and then stick it in the bin. It couldn't be any easier than that.