It is estimated that the use of single-use plastic has gone up 250-300% in the United States since the pandemic started. As PPE equipment starts littering beaches and waterways, the disposable masks market is estimated to grow from $800 million in 2019 to a whopping $166 billion in 2020. That’s a growth of over 200x -- in just disposable masks.
The thing is, you don't need to use a disposable mask to protect yourself and the community at large.
A simple cloth face covering will offer enough protection for most people, you don’t need to stock up on those single-use surgical masks (to be reserved for healthcare workers) to stay protected.
In fact, UCSF recently published that if you do end up catching the virus while wearing a mask, you’re less likely to fall seriously ill. Here’s how to stay safe and sustainable at the same time.
1. Use a washable, cloth face covering
This is the most planet-friendly option as it doesn’t involve single-use whatsoever.
2. Add a filter
For people who want or need added protection, you can add a disposable filter to your reusable cloth mask to reduce your plastic consumption.
3. Prolong the life of your single-use mask
For people who want or need the most protection but still want to reduce their plastic consumption, you can use a washable cloth face covering over your surgical mask or N95 mask to prolong its use. When it’s no longer usable, make sure it ends up in the trash and not on the ground.