There is not a lot of data about how much waste the use of face masks is generating in the U.S. But according to one estimate , if everyone in the U.K. used a disposable mask each day for a year, it would create 66,000 metric tons of contaminated waste and 57,000 metric tons of plastic packaging waste. Greenpeace Taiwan estimates that during a 14-week period of 2020, Taiwan used roughly 1.3 billion surgical masks. If the global population uses one disposable face mask per day, we’d dispose of 129 billion face masks each month . A Better Option Already, some people are working on finding new uses for old masks and developing biodegradable masks. Abaca , a biodegradable fiber from banana plants, has shown promise as a potential replacement for polyester and plastics in medical masks. An eco-entrepreneur in India is working to convert disposable masks into construction bricks . And a company called Plaxtil is upcycling used PPE into new PPE. But for now, the best most of us can do to reduce pandemic-related waste is to wear reusable cloth masks whenever possible. Cloth Masks According to the University College of London , machine-washing reusable masks is […]

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