Masks are Bad for the Environment

Masks are Bad for the Environment

Everyone should be wearing a mask (please save the N95s for the frontline professionals). If you're headed out to get groceries or whatever liberties your local government is allowing, take your mask. The CDC instructs that masks should not be reused. But what's going to happen when restrictions are lifted? I've already begun to see it on my walks around the neighborhood. 

Mask litter. 

There will inevitably be tons of polypropylene spunbound masks on our streets and in our landfills very soon. The very nature of meltblown filter material is that it is plastic. The raw material fed into the spinning machine is a thermoplastic synthetic. I would encourage recycling them if that is at all possible. I've been told that recycling for this is generally not available.

We are manufacturing this critical PPE like crazy, at lightning speed, which is only more and more plastic that needs to be disposed of on a daily basis. Quarantining the human population is certainly in some ways allowing our planet to heal for a time (low to no traffic, air pollution clearing up, significantly reduced carbon emissions, likey reductions in industries like logging and fishing) but our Mother Earth will soon be coated in a layer of polyester. These masks will soon end up on nature trails and on beaches. That's unhygienic and dangerous to both humans and wildlife.

It's quite a contradiction to consider. I'm sorry I cannot offer an easy solution. I will add here that Happyface masks are constructed of reusable recycled polyester (rPET) which significantly cuts down on waste. 

Make good choices. Stay safe. Be thoughtful. Be well.