Plastic in the time of Covid
With so much extra plastic around, now is the time to think about how we can use less plastic in our daily lives.
1.Should you use a disposable mask?
Ideally not unless you’re a medical professional – single use masks should go into a bag and then into a bin.
“We really encourage everyone to make or buy a reusable mask to avoid impact on the environment” – City to Sea CEO Rebecca Burgess).
Greenpeace has worked out that if everyone in the UK wears a disposable mask everyday for a year, this would create 66,000 tonnes of additional plastic waste!!
Because of the way they are made the part in most single use disposable masks can’t be separated, so most end up in landfill or incinerators. They will brake down into micro plastic particles….
Reusable fabric masks are perfectly adequate.
They should be washed after each use. The soap is more important than the temperature.
( see City to Sea website and other designs on line)
2. Is bar soap as good as liquid hand wash for killing the virus?
Yes,soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus fall apart!
Look for bars that have minimal or no packaging.
If you want to use soap pumps try a refill service.
3.Should I buy plastic bottles of hand sanitiser?
Hand washing is better than gel but sometimes when out and about they are useful. If possible buy a big one and decant into a small reusable container.
4. Can I use a reusable coffee cup?
Some outlets have refused to refill customers’ own cups but now it is recognized that there is a safe procedure for doing this safely.
City to Sea has launched a “contactless coffee” campaign to encourage cafes to accept reusable cups again.
With restaurants closed until recently a takeaway is a wonderful break from preparing yet another meal at home.
See if you can take your own container!
Or encourage your favourite outlet to use compostable containers.
6. Is it more hygienic to buy packaged over loose fruit and veg?
No – The virus is actually viable for longer on plastic than most other materials.
7. Should I wear disposable gloves?
Almost certainly not – this can give people a false sense of security. Just wash your hands and be aware of not touching your face. “Wearing gloves in public makes no sense”. (Maitreyi Shivkumar, virologist, De Montfort Uni)
Below are some ideas which do take a little extra time but are definitely worthwhile:
A soda stream – avoid plastic sparkling water bottles! Unlimited sparkling water. You save in the end!
A yoghurt maker – avoid plastic tubs – also much cheaper in the end.
Make your own hummus – tins of chickpeas and glass jars of tahini!
Buy bars of hand soap and bars of shampoo and conditioner – they really do work well!
Choose a grocery delivery service that shuns plastic bags!
Find a milkman – have your milk delivered in returnable glass bottles