The Environmental Issues of PPE Waste Discussed by 1st Choice Waste Management
We are getting better at thinking about the environment when we buy different products but we still have a way to go to ensure that we stop the decline and the damage we are causing to the world especially now we have PPE Waste to think about.
A lot of people will no longer buy a bottle of water or a fizzy drink when they are out as they are now much more aware of the impact it is having. I know this isn’t the same for everyone in the world but a lot of people are now changing their mindsets when it comes to this sort of purchase and plastic waste.
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about dramatic changes in the way we live our lives in 2020 and the world has had to react quickly to all the challenges we have been faced with quickly. Unfortunately, with the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) inside and outside of hospitals, as well as a lot of us having to revert to online shopping we are all now adding even further to landfill sites and the environmental problems we have created. During the pandemic, the need for PPE has significantly driven increased plastic pollution and we haven’t had the time to think about the damaging impact of it.
I’m sure we have all noticed the PPE masks dropped on the ground around where we live and work, not only creating litter but animals are dying getting tangled up in the masks that have been disposed of carelessly.
Our new mantra when we go out is keys, phone, facemask and gel to support the government’s hands, face & space, but what happens to your disposable face mask when you’ve finished with it?
Now that is mandatory to wear a facemask in the UK when inside shops, on public transport, for medical appointments, in cafes, restaurants and when getting takeaways we are getting into the swing of it and we should all try and do our bit. If you aren’t working in the medical sector and you haven’t done so already then you should change to using reusable facemasks to reduce the number of masks and PPE Waste going into landfill, as well as littering our towns, cities and countryside.
For some people, it seems a small change which won’t make a huge difference but to put it into perspective a single-use face mask can take over 20 years to break down in landfill compared to a reusable one which can be worn, washed and used many many times over.
Wearing a mask is going to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, even as the vaccine is rolled out so using a reusable mask will save you money as well as not contributing to environmental pollution. Using a cloth mask will enable you to wear it multiple times with washing it after every use and they are far more comfortable compared to medical-grade masks.
A recent study conducted by shopping comparison site, finder.com showed that at the start of the pandemic over half of the UK population were choosing to wear single-use non-biodegradable masks. It was estimated that if this continued then over 1.6 billion non-biodegradable face masks would be disposed of in landfills monthly:
The Environmental Impact of PPE Waste
- Over half (51%) of UK adults say they own blue surgical masks (this is equivalent to 26.7 million people)
- This equates to 53.5 million disposable masks being used every day in the UK alone (based on the assumption that surgical mask users would use at least 2 masks a day as they are single use)
- This equates to us sending approximately 53.5 million masks (PPE Waste0 to landfill sites every day
- Calculating this over a month, the UK will use 1.6 billion non-biodegradable surgical masks
- Non-biodegradable masks take between 20 and 30 years to breakdown
- These stats don’t include single-use plastic gloves, aprons or any other form of PPE
- Thinking ahead, if the world’s population used one disposable face mask every day the COVID-19 pandemic could result in 129 billion face masks and 65 billion gloves of waste and into landfill every month
Facemasks have become a standard part of our lives in 2020 and since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the use of disposable facemasks, it is being highlighted as a whole new environmental crisis. PPE Waste is being found in streams, rivers, and oceans, much liPPE Waste Environmental Issueske we were seeing with plastic bottles. Unfortunately, around the world, we have turned to single-use plastics in the form of PPE, hand sanitiser and soap to keep us safe from coronavirus.
Already animals have been found tangled up in PPE and the RSPCA recently released pictures of a seagull rescued in Essex after its feet were tangled in a face mask.
A picture was released in Yorkshire of a peregrine falcon trying to frantically detangle itself from a face mask. This could have been a tragedy as Peregrine Falcons have been given full legal protection under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 as there are only about 1,000 breeding pairs left in the UK.
We have seen pictures in the media of sea life swimming surrounded by plastic and wildlife being harmed or even killed by facemasks and PPE so we need to do something about it and quickly.
What are the benefits of Reusable Facemasks?
- Using reusable face masks will save you money compared to buying medical non-biodegradable masks
- Surgical masks are in short supply and are needed by healthcare professionals
- We don’t have the capability of disposing of PPE Waste safely and adequately using incineration
- Disposable facemasks cannot be put into our domestic recycling bins as they cannot be recycled through our conventional recycling facilities so they are going into landfill
- Reusable cotton facemasks are more comfortable to wear and allow you to breath easier
- Reusable masks don’t smell sterile or medical and can be washed in your favourite smelling washing detergent
- Disposable facemasks are made from single-use plastic which ends up in landfill and adds to the worlds environmental issues
- Choosing a reusable facemask is the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective way to keep yourself, your loved ones and the people around you safe
Make a change now and negate the need for single-use masks by ordering yourself and your family a couple of cotton facemasks each. If you have a few, they can be washed every time you use them and you’ll always have one to hand when you need one.
About 1st Choice Waste Management
1st Choice Waste Management Environmental Credentials
1st Choice Waste Management is focused on clean and environmentally friendly waste deposal and supports the government’s recycling and waste management targets in everything they do.
We are advocates of safe and clean waste removal and disposal at our dedicated waste site for domestic, commercial and industrial requirements in Middlesbrough & Teesside.
1st Choice Waste Management Licensed and Certified
We are a fully licensed and certified waste management company. We are a registered waste broker and our established and reputable brokerage services ensure your business makes money from the waste you produce. We aim to be the most competitive in the waste brokerage industry and we offer you money back for the business waste we remove.
1st Choice Waste Management’s Knowledge & Experience
We have been in operation for over 10 years and have defined processes and policies for our waste management, waste brokerage, recycling and creating biomass energy services.
We have all the expertise you need when it comes to efficient waste management for your business or domestic waste. Our professional team are all experts in waste management and we can adapt our services to support your business.
Our waste processing facilities are designed around the needs of our customers and we have developed our processes to ensure we are able to deal with all types of waste management in an environmentally friendly way as possible.
1st Choice Waste Management Recycling
We recycle as much as we can and we take the environmental impact of domestic, commercial and industrial waste disposal seriously. As an example of this, we have our very own biomass boiler which converts natural waste into electricity which is feedback into the mains electricity grid.
1st Choice Waste Management Hazardous Waste
We manage all types of hazardous, difficult, and unique waste mahjong it easy for you to safely dispose of all types of waste your business produces. We understand that waste can be complex we work with you to create a waste service to meet your needs.
1st Choice Waste Management Biomass Boiler
We have our very own biomass boiler and this enables us to convert natural waste products into energy and return clean electricity back to the grid making it a clean and environmentally friendly way of disposing of your waste. Biomass is classed as a renewable energy source as it is naturally sourced and replenishable, meaning it is generated as a result of a natural process occurring.
At 1st Choice Waste, we understand that businesses are focusing on clean waste disposal and businesses have targets to meet when it comes to their energy efficiency targets and we can support you with this.
To find out more about our Waste Management Services and how we manage any PPE Waste in Middlesbrough & Teesside call us today on 01642 478 734 and we can answer any questions you may have whether its for domestic, commercial or industrial waste.
Ben works for the marketing team at 1st Choice Waste Management, he has a passion for marketing and helping businesses to grow.