Face mask pollution is real! Here’s what wholesale consumers can do to reduce it
In March 2020, prominent fashion designers rebooted their factories into masks production lines to cope with their shortage. The sales were THAT INSANE!
Disposable face masks soon became omnipresent. They were everywhere – from everyone’s face to our oceans and landfills. According to experts, almost 1.6 billion face masks ended up in oceans, making up nearly 75% of the total sales.
Imagine a discarded face mask lying in the middle of the street you are walking by. The sight of an infected person wearing it will stop many from picking it up and discarding it properly. And so, they lay as they were until the wind blows them away.
While face masks gave us hope against the deadly virus, they, at the same time, wreaked havoc on our environment. They added tons to our annual plastic waste, and since they do not decompose on their own, they are expected to sit in our landfills without budging for hundreds of years!
But how can a face mask retailer play a valuable role in all this? What can you do to limit the consequences of face mask pollution? This article has all the help.
How do plastic face masks pollute our planet?
Face masks were our first barrier against Covid-19. With the government imposing strict rules to normalize wearing them in public, face masks soon became symbolic of the pandemic. But our planet was already suffering from tremendous volumes of plastic waste, and the massive addition of another daily use item increased the numbers exponentially.
We discard almost 3.4 billion face masks or face shields every day. The numbers are INSANE!
You’d think that these disposable plastic masks’ only adverse effect is that they fill up our landfills. But the truth is far from that. Not only do they contribute to our annual garbage production, but they also have numerous indirect effects on our health.
Here are a few adverse consequences of using and improperly disposing of plastic face masks:
1. They pollute our lands and oceans
The waste we produce manages to sneak into our water bodies one way or another. By the time we get rid of the Covid pandemic, billions of plastic face masks will be floating on our seas and oceans.
Not only face masks, but single-use plastic gloves and other disposable PPEs that were high in demand during the outbreak now sit forever in our landfills. The non-biodegradable nature of these masks and other equipment avoids their decomposition and natural degradation.
2. Their combustion produces toxic gasses
Face masks are made of plastic fibers, primarily polypropylene, that take centuries to only fragment into micro or nano plastics. A single face mask releases as much as 173,000 plastic threads per day into the seas.
Since plastic waste cannot disintegrate naturally, many think that burning plastic face masks can get rid of them. However, due to their plastic nature, the masks burn to give off harmful gasses that further contribute to pollution and have adverse effects on our health indirectly.
3. They cause secondary infections
Used plastic face masks are biohazardous waste that authorities should treat accordingly before disposal. However, most countries do not observe proper waste treatment protocols. Hence, face masks can pose severe threats to public health due to the risk of secondary transmission.
4. They affected tourism industry
Face masks have several hazardous effects on our planet’s ecosystem, but they also cause significant losses for the tourism and fishery industries.
They made up significant portions of litter in tourist spots.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimated a loss of around $40 billion to the tourism and recreation departments worldwide.
Also, since they pollute our water bodies, our fisheries face the consequences. Fish and marine birds mistake them for food and end up suffocating while trying to eat them.
How can wholesale consumers help with face mask pollution?
The grave consequences of disposable facemasks are a wake-up call for their dealers and wholesale consumers. Whether you have a shop where you sell them in retail or run a hospital, mall, government, or public institution, reducing face mask pollution is also your responsibility.
Here are a few steps you can take to curb its adverse effects:
1. Educate the public
Since retail suppliers are usually the first contact with the general public, it is best if education comes through them. Use your institute or shop to interact with face mask buyers and educate them about their proper disposal.
Before throwing them in the dust bin, pack used masks and disposable PPEs in a plastic bag. It minimizes the risk of secondary infection through them.
2. Encourage recycling
Recycling plastic face masks is the best option to limit them from ending in landfills. Besides educating the public regarding it, you can also contact organizations that collect discarded face masks for recycling and ask them to install a bin at your shop, hospital, or institution.
3. Sell biodegradable masks
The most significant step toward saving the environment from the adverse effects of face mask litter is to shift your sales or use from plastic to biodegradable.
Scientists have developed several alternatives for plastic face masks. You will have to look for manufacturers that supply biodegradable variants that are readily available, cheap, and equally effective at protecting against the virus.
Where to find?
One such manufacturer is Ecolive by STK Group Company, which specializes in eco-friendly face masks. They use state-of-the-art technology in all three layers of the mask, ear hooks, nose bracket, and even the packaging materials to make them recyclable and eco-compatible.
Ecolive has replaced polypropylene with vegetable raw materials, namely corn starch and polylactic acid, that are reusable and disintegrate into the environment entirely within 85 to 90 days.
Plus, they deal in all sizes of orders, and their products are always available. They have manufacturing facilities and warehouses in Russia, from where they ship to all corners of the world. STK develops global partners network to make products available in every country and part of the world.
And the best thing? They take special care of their customers by providing exclusive deals and options in light of every consumer’s specific needs.
Click here to be a responsible citizen and play your part in reducing face mask pollution.
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