Written By

Nicola McKenzie

All of us here at Trtl find it refreshing to see the world beginning to open back up again.

Some countries and cities may be more advanced than others. However, with that comes responsibility as we all know, such as Social distancing, wearing a mask, having to carry and use hand sanitiser everywhere you go, working from home when possible, ensuring you are only travelling for essential purposes and learning to love our own cities and learning we don’t have to travel far to enjoy a break.

Although people are being responsible and protecting the most vulnerable in society, the use of disposable and single use masks have become the new plastic straw. Masks are being disposed of at massive rates, meaning our oceans are becoming increasingly polluted due to use of disposable PPE. According to the UN News “If historical data is a reliable indicator, it can be expected that around 75 percent of the used masks, as well as other pandemic-related waste, will end up in landfills, or floating in the seas. Aside from the environmental damage, the financial cost, in areas such as tourism and fisheries, is estimated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) at around $40 billion”

According to The Freedonia Group, the demand for plastic face shields has skyrocketed at an estimated 312% growth rate in 2020 due to face mask shortages related to COVID-19. Before Covid-19, these were only used in a small number of medical procedures.

Of course, there are a large amount of people out there trying to help and do what they can to prevent our planet from being so severely affected by waste.  In almost every large store you go into, you will often find there are now ‘biodegradable’ options for the likes of plates, cutlery, cups, even toothbrushes!  There is also an increase in reusable cups meaning there are fewer paper cups being used and contributing to the problem, same goes for plastic carrier bags!

People making sustainable choices is not just benefiting our ecosystem but our finances.   By using reusable items, you are saving yourself money in the long run!  Many companies are offering discounts when using reusable items such as if you bring in your own reusable coffee cup you can get a percentage off your hot drink.   This certainly helps encourage people to start changing their habits.  Imagine the difference it would make if everyone did this? 

If you look at the following statistics from Greenpeace it can really put into perspective the harsh reality that we are facing:

  • “About 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950s – the weight of roughly a billion elephants or 47 million blue whales.
  • Only about 9% of this plastic has been recycled, 12% has been burned and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the environment.
  • Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year.
  • The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute.
  • There are five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans  – enough to circle the Earth over 400 times.
  • Countries like Canada, the U.S., and the UK export plastic waste to various countries in Asia and Africa7-9, offloading their trash problem to other communities.”

You can read useful facts and information regarding plastic pollution via their website: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/key-facts-about-plastic-pollution/

So what can we do better?    At this point in time, with the current global crisis and the increased impact it has on our planet, we could be using reusable masks and PPE!  The other thing we could do is if at any point using a disposable mask is disposing of it properly.  According to an article written by CNN, a lot of masks are being placed in recycling bins which is not where they are supposed to go resulting in the recycled waste being disgarded due to the fact there are non-recyclable PPE in amongst it.   Remember to ensure you are putting your disposable masks in your general waste, unless of course it is in fact recyclable!

Also, a good tip is to cut the string off your masks before binning them – this prevents nature such as birds, sea life, small woodland animals getting tangled up in the masks.  This has been a big issue as well as latex gloves, plastic bags, non-biodegradable netting, cotton buds etc.  This can make a big difference and it is so easy to do and only takes a minute or two of your time.  

The Trtl Protect Mask was designed to be used in all environments meaning one mask can be used for all your needs.   This cuts down on the number of masks needed and time wearing a full mask when this may not be necessary. This is not only great for the wearer but great for the planet as it helps to reduce the single use and disposable masks that are entering landfills and oceans. With its ability to be washed at 40 degrees, it allows for washing and effective cleansing to occur at a temperature which is not as detrimental to the planet as harsh chemicals and washes.

At Trtl, we believe in travelling the world, and believe that our planet is something we should protect.   As travel returns, we want to ensure the beautiful areas in the world can be enjoyed for many generations to come, which is why we purposefully created products that promote sustainability as well as efficiency such as; We’ve used over 43,000 recycled bottles to make our packing pods so far.  That is nearly a half tonne of plastic saved from landfill.  Also, the Trtl Wrap is made with Sustainable plant-based down filling and all our bags are made using recycled plastic.

What do you think? After reading this article, are there areas in your life where you could be more sustainable?  Do you have an example or story of something or someone that's really We would love to hear all about your planet saving tips and tricks and what you think.  Head over to our Facebook or Instagram page and let us know about your journey to being ‘green’.

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