Let’s begin with the facts – globally, every month, 129 billion face masks are being used – but how many of that staggering number are ending up polluting our environment, endangering our ocean and marine life?
As we all get used to the “new normal”, it has becoming an accepted regulation that face masks are to be worn on public transport etc. So how can we protect the future for the next generations?
The widely used disposable masks are made from plastics, such as polypropylene, which has a lifespan of 450 years, so the lasting consequences are devastating! There is evidence that divers and marine observers are spotting increased volumes of discarded waste floating underwater and strewn along our beautiful shorelines. With reports that there will soon be more masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean, there is great concern that the Covid-19 pandemic will cause a fresh surge in ocean pollution. This glut of plastic waste is a rising threat to ocean life, as scientists worry that porpoises, dolphins and other marine animals could mistake the masks for food. Sea birds, turtles, and even whales are at significant risk from the debris.
This isn’t the first time our attention has been drawn to ocean pollution however. The amount of waste we generate in the fashion industry is terrifying, with the boom of eCommerce and fast fashion contributing to the masses. Several brands and companies across the world have made a dedicated effort to move away from throw-away packaging and have found biodegradable and ocean-friendly solutions that work just as well, if not better.
So what is the solution for this new issue? A washable mask, which is more comfortable and easy to wear than the disposable mask, is definitely the way forward. You are not only protecting yourself, but also your environment by choosing an eco-friendly, sustainable option. These masks are guaranteed to be anti- bacterial for up to 30 washes, and even after that, they continue to protect you from the spread of disease. They come in various sizes, shapes and colours, and can indeed become a designer item to match your fashion trend. As sustainably-conscious garment branding experts, we truly believe that sustainability shouldn’t cost you your premium brand image.
If we don’t act responsibly and make sensible decisions we are endangering our marine life. By thinking ahead and choosing a sustainable option, we can protect ourselves during this difficult time and therefore safeguard our planet for future generations.