The world has slowly begun to re-open its doors to the activities that we have all sadly missed so much. The routine life chores that we never thought that we would miss, we now welcome back!! Workplaces, bars, cafes, restaurants, retail outlets, schools and universities are all trying to find ways to operate and stay open, despite the heavy restrictions that we must now all endure.
Today is the first day that my 14-year-old daughter has been able to return to her dance scholarship classes in York, which usually leaves me hanging out in coffee shops as I wait for her… or embarking on a spot of retail therapy!! As I have done on most Saturdays for the last 3 years, I dropped my daughter off and drove to the local retail park which has all the usual suspects! It was absolutely teeming with people, desperately catching up on the freedoms that the pandemic had previously stolen from us all. What struck me, and led me to write this blog, was the huge number of people I saw wearing a disposable mask! With recent face-covering guidelines now increased, face coverings are a regular item to have with you, the same as your keys and phone!!
So why are so many people wearing disposable?
At a time when many have had to suffer financial loss, and when we should now be operating in the most economical way as possible to ride through the second wave, it makes sense to find the cheapest possible way to comply with the new face coverings that we now must purchase.
Prices of disposable masks have inflated since the start of the pandemic, making them an average of 70p per use!! 70p doesn’t sound like a lot, but even at 1 per day, that is £255.50 per year! And if there’s a family of 4 wearing face coverings, then that works out to a hefty £1022 per year!! I’m pretty sure that we could all find something much better to use that amount of money on!! In comparison, a re-usable mask like one from MasksUK, that can be washed 100 times, works out at 12p per wear! (And that’s when we aren’t running an offer!) A single person’s yearly cost for this, when washed once per day, would only be £43.80 and a family of 4, just £175.20.
Who doesn’t want £846.80 in their back pocket? I know I do!!
You can even factor in the cost of the washing powder for your reusable mask, and you’re still saving over 75% on the cost of disposable masks!
What about the environmental cost of a disposable mask?
A reusable mask, without doubt, helps our planet. I have witnessed some truly careless behaviour in terms of how some people “dispose” of their single-use masks. Left at the bottom of a shopping trolley, simply tossed at the exits of shops, in car parks, at beaches… the list goes on. Not only is this adding to our litter problems, but it is also harmful to animals who may ingest or find themselves tangled in the loops of a mask.
According to a study in Environmental Science and Technology, an estimated 194 billion masks are being used worldwide every month as a result of the pandemic. According to Waste Free Oceans, when masks find their way to the sea from people dumping them in canals and rivers, disposable masks will take up to 450 years to decompose and to fully leave those marine ecosystems. Even when disposed of correctly, single-use masks end up on landfills and/or being incinerated, which can lead to toxic fumes and directly contribute to climate change.
A reusable mask is what everyone should be wearing.
We can save money to spend on our families and maintain financial stability, whilst also keeping our oceans plastic-free, look after our wildlife and even combat climate change. As I duck into Starbucks wearing my BeUnique Nanotechnology black sparkle reusable face mask, I feel confident that I’m doing my best to not just protect myself and others, but save the planet as well as my bank account!
Image Credit: Waste Free Oceans