Putting Our Planet First With Reusable PPE
The BBC produced a video about PPE hazardous waste washing up onshore and polluting our oceans. For those who don't know, PPE means personal protective equipment or face masks and gloves. In this case, single-use or disposable PPE is already causing drastic harm to our planet's delicate ecosystems by washing up on the beaches of Soko Islands, Hong Kong; Bosporus, Turkey; Cote d'Azur, France; and London, UK.
In a recent study, it's estimated that 129 billion face masks and 65 million gloves are being used around the world—per month. Julie Hellec from french non-profit Opération Mer Propre (Operation Clean Sea) speaks out in a CNN article where she estimates "the COVID waste retrieved during sea cleanups to be less than 5% of the total waste Opération Mer Propre usually collects, but the organization is worried this could escalate rapidly.”
While self-quarantining has given our atmosphere and oceans a much-needed break, this rise in disposable PPE could negate the ‘positives.’ Setting us back for larger and more catastrophic environmental and public health safety issues down the line if we continue to use single-use face masks for short outings including grocery shopping, making a bank deposit, or other quick errands.
Your colleagues, loved ones, and those cute baby dolphins will thank you for choosing to purchase a more sustainable option to combat this virus. Continue to protect yourself, others, the ocean, and even your wallet by stocking up on reusable PPE.
Some might worry that reusable face masks are not as effective as medical-grade disposable ones, but we're here to tell you they are just as effective for running errands, working in the office, or exercising outdoors. To ease your mind, Mundi offers an abundance of reusable PPE, including face masks in an array of styles for different occasions.
This kit includes two eco-friendly stylish fabric face masks, a Don't Touch That multi-purpose touch tool, and two replacement Carbon Filters. Socially Sure Kit is not your style? No worries! Check out all of our reusable face masks to find one that suits you!
The masks are easily adjustable, breathable, and designed to mold to your unique facial features. Each face mask provided in Mundi's Socially Sure Kit can be machine washed at least 30 times (and counting) while miraculously still looking just as fabulous as the day you purchased them.
Fun fact: by the 30th wash, you've safely prevented roughly 60 disposable face masks from being sent to the landfill. Now that’s progress!
Next-level neoprene, put your best face forward with this comfy and adjustable reusable mask available in 3 different fun colors. Includes built-in filters and reusable interior filters, just gentle machine wash and dry before each use.
This face cover is functional, flexible—featuring added flair! Transition from face mask to scarf to headband with comfort and ease. Includes 2 pull up face masks with replaceable filters and a reusable pouch (TSA approved).
Express yourself and be extra with this beautiful scarf face mask available in 5 different patterns. Also versatile, this mask can be worn as a scarf or headband. Includes 2 masks with replaceable filters and a reusable TSA approved pouch.
Simple and refined, this 3-pack of lightweight top-quality foam reusable PPE can be safely hand-washed 5-8 times and still look phenomenal.
Reusability isn’t a trend—it’s a lifestyle
The Guardian outlines the current dilemma in an article featuring an Opération Mer Propre’s member Joffrey Peltier and his recent findings while picking up trash along Côte d’Azur; he discovered "dozens of gloves, masks, and bottles of hand sanitizer beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, mixed in with the usual littler of disposable cups and aluminum cans.”
According to a study from the Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection, polymeric containing PPE and disposable PPE are no better than other plastic packing materials, water bottles, etc., currently littering our oceans. "Similarly, disposable face masks (single use) that get to the environment (disposal in a landfill, dumpsites, freshwater, oceans or littering at public spaces) could be an emerging new source of microplastic fibers, as they degrade/fragment or break down into smaller size/pieces of particles under 5 mm known as microplastics under environmental conditions.”
These smaller microplastics slowly-release chemicals that may be harmful to animals consuming the materials, explains Grist. Starting a domino effect that could potentially come back to bite us because "plastic ingested by smaller fish gets incorporated into the bodies of progressively larger animals, all the way up to the food chain until it arrives on our dinner plates.”
If you're thinking you're doing ‘enough’ to protect others by wearing a disposable face mask as a non-healthcare worker—then think again—because you could be doing more harm than good both directly and indirectly to the environment and communities located near landfills.
The environmentalist organization Greenpeace released a statement about why people should stick to using reusable PPE and leave the disposable PPE to the medical and healthcare professionals. In the press release, Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar expresses his concerns, "we cannot protect human health without a healthy environment. The hundreds of billions of throwaway plastic masks and gloves we are using come at an enormous cost, particularly for communities of color near landfills and incinerators where it is dumped or burned. We need to protect ourselves from COVID today in ways that will not endanger us to other deadly diseases in the future.”Let's not forget that as humans, we don't only have each other to look out for, but also the animals that walk, slither, fly, and swim along with us. COVID-19 could be the environmentally and socially conscious awakening we all needed to become a more compassionate human race. We each have an important role to fill during this time—let's all do it together.