The coronavirus has turned the world upside down, and now the plastic masks that we rely on and the PPE that we use threaten to make our world a living hell for future generations. Is there anything we can do?
Here are five things you should know:
- Research has revealed that 8 million tons of plastic waste has been generated in countries around the world since the pandemic started. This has made up a large portion of the plastic waste that has ended-up in our oceans. Research suggests that the trillions upon trillions of plastic gloves and face masks will have a significant, long-term effect on the ecosystems of our beaches and oceans.
- The problem is that the masks we wear are made from polypropylene, which is the same plastic we have been trying to avoid with drinking straws. They are very difficult to recycle. In fact, much of PPE is not recyclable.
- They are so cheaply produced that they end up in a landfill. There are some exciting uses for PPE.
- A Las Vegas casino is promising to recycle the masks its employees use into railroad ties, plastic decking, and other forms of transportation. A French company collects thousands of masks and transforms them into new visors. A Dutch-designed mask can be planted, and the seeds it contains can grow into flowers.
- Australia may use more than 90 tons of recycled PPE to make plastic-mixed roads or pavements.
However, we must get on with these initiatives quickly, as one thing is certain: if we don’t, then we might end up in a global catastrophe of plastics, which could lead to an animal and plant death.