COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live, socialise, work and exercise. Health and well being of the whole community is paramount and in many places it is a requirement to wear personal protective equipment for the benefit of yourself and others.
Globally there has been a MASSIVE increase in the amount of waste produced from single-use disposable items like masks as well as gloves, small bottles of hand sanitiser and wet wipes.
We are at real risk of turning this health crisis into an environmental crisis too. Discarded single-use masks, gloves and wet wipes can be found floating in the sea, washing up on beaches, in the streets and along hiking trails. We need to stay safe, but also be mindful of the waste we are creating every day.
If everyone in HK wears one disposable mask every day, we will use 225 million masks per month!
3 WAYS TO PREVENT COVID-19 WASTE
- Wear a reusable mask and wash it frequently.
- Wash hands with bar soap and water.
- Buy bulk hand sanitiser if needed and refill small bottles.
One Action Multiplied Can Make a Big Difference!
As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, waste from take-away meals has increased 2.2 times over last year’s volume (and that was based on data before the more recent expansion of the restrictions). Think about how often you grab a takeaway coffee, a bottle of water, a chocolate bar or those sachets of wasabi and soy sauce for your takeaway sushi? What about the disposable cutlery wrapped in a little plastic bag or the plastic cup containing chopped fruit? What about the plastic lid and the plastic straw that come with the disposable cup containing your smoothie/ slushie/ milkshake? All these little choices add up to a lot of waste created.
But all of this disposable plastic can be avoided with pre-planning and a
switch to choosing reusables over disposables.
As consumers, we have power in how we spend our money and what messages we want to give to companies. The packaging that companies choose to deliver their products in can change. When customers use their power of choice, they are sending a strong message to companies.
Support the companies that are prioritising waste reduction actions and striving for a less polluted environment for all.
Health Experts Agree It Is Safe To Use Reusables During COVID-19
More than 120 scientists, academics, and doctors from 18 countries signed a statement reassuring retailers and consumers that reusable systems can be utilised safely during the pandemic by employing basic hygiene.
By utilising no touch techniques, takeaway food and drink can still be consumed without creating the disposable waste.
Watch the Contactless Coffee video for an easy process to follow/suggest to a cafe. For takeaway food, if you can’t use your own container, suggest your food is served on a washable plate and then you put it in to your container.
Video credit: City to Sea
Say No To Plastic Straws
Half of the 200 plastic straws removed from one Hong Kong beach cleanup had obvious bite marks from fish. Every piece of plastic matters.
6 Simple Tips
These are the six switches that can have a really big impact.
More than 40% of the plastic produced globally is used for packaging.
By avoiding disposable items and making reusable items a new daily habit you’ll be wasting less and setting a great example for others to follow.
Hang this poster in the office, at school or share on social media.
The PFS Plastic-Free Living Checklist
Make a choice. Stop a habit. Do something different today! Everyone can reduce their plastic usage and we want to help you on your waste reduction path. Put up a simple action checklist on your fridge and incorporate a new habit in your life. Start slow, don’t get overwhelmed and keep at it.
There will be days when you do have to take that one plastic bag or use disposable cutlery, but refusing plastic will become a habit and it won’t be long before carrying a few extra bits and pieces in your bag will be automatic. As will saying no to plastic and inspiring others!
This list is not everything you can do but it is a great start. What action will you take on today?
Cantonese Pocket Guide to Help You Say No to Plastic!
Download and save on your phone or print and keep it handy in your bag.
Did You Know?
If everyone in Hong Kong wore a single-use disposable mask every day, in one year there would be 10,950 TONNES of waste created!
That’s 782 garbage trucks full of masks.