Green Tip: Face Masks

Green Tip: Face Masks

 Anthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Anthony Wallace/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The problem: Face mask pollution

As wearing face masks has become a requirement (at least indoors) and has proved to be an efficient way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, more litter has been found in our environment. Like many other waste, face masks easily end up in the wild, especially in the ocean, impacting marine ecosystems. As an item that we all use daily, disposable face masks have quickly become an important part of our waste production.

The problem in a few facts:

  • Around 194 billion face masks, made from a variety of plastics, are used worldwide every month;
  • Face masks in the ocean collect algae, attracting many fishes and mammals who can easily mistake them for food;
  • Disposable face masks can take hundreds of years to decompose;
  • Already 8 million tons of plastics enter the oceans every year.

By throwing away our disposable face masks, we are only contributing to increase our pollution issue, endangering many species, and degrading ecosystems.

What Can You Do?

  • Opt for reusable masks, they come in many fun colors, patterns, and durable materials!
  • Have you tried face shields? They are easy to disinfect after each use and easy to make yourself;
  • Make your own reusable face mask from old clothing or leftover materials you no longer need;
  • Take this opportunity to buy reusable face masks locally and support small businesses.

Following safety guidelines is absolutely critical. We all need to do our part, and wearing a mask is an easy way to help protect you as well as others, and stop the spread of the virus. But we also need to stay mindful of our waste, and make sure that we don’t create another problem. There are alternatives to disposable face masks that you can use. Let’s keep in mind that our environment remains more vulnerable than ever.

If you are in need of a reusable face mask, feel free to contact us! Brighten Solar will be happy to provide one for you to pick up, until November 30th! Let’s work together to take care of our environment while taking care of our health.