Disposable masks are composed of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable dense thermoplastics. Once discarded, they become an alarming health and environmental hazard. You’ve likely witnessed soiled disposable masks appearing on the streets of our towns and cities and ending up on shorelines and in our oceans.
Single-use masks and gloves are simply not a viable option to protect our long-term health and the planet. As we go about our daily lives, it is imperative we commit to simple steps to reuse, based on science.
Maintain a minimum physical distance of at least 1 metre from others when at all possible.
Health experts say washing hands with soap and water helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. On the contrary, single-use plastic gloves do not contribute to a safer environment, as they are often the source of cross-contamination and contribute to a false sense of security.
Reusable masks should be used in daily interactions by the general public. Surgical masks should be left for health or frontline workers and for the vulnerable population such as people over 60. You will find this and other safety information on the card below.
#breakfreefromplastic members are also leading other initiatives to reduce the use of disposable PPE, and encourage widespread adoption of reusable masks. You can explore these member-led initiatives here:
City to Sea: How to make your own reusable mask
City to Sea: Keeping you and our oceans safe
Greenpeace: Make a Reusable Mask toolkit
For more information on protective measures to take during the pandemic, you can follow the simple science recommendations here:
Break Free From Plastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in September 2016, nearly 2,600 organizations from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and to push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. These organisations share the common values of environmental protection and social justice, which guide their work at the community level and represent a global, unified vision.