There is no denying that a lot of waste has been created and discarded during Covid. Much of the single use PPE is necessary to keep healthcare workers, essential workers, and all of us safe. But if you have the option of choosing the PPE that you utilize to protect yourself, then going for the multi-use, washable face mask over the polyester surgical mask and other such choices can help keep single use items out of landfill. More tips below.
Cloth Face Masks
The best way to acquire cloth masks is in your neighborhood or town via a local seamstress who made them. By buying small and local, you’ll help your neighbor during these tough times. If you sew you could make your own and save even more out of landfill if you use your scraps to make masks. Personally, I have experimented making masks with my scraps (proud new sewer) and have upcycled more materials for the nose wire by using twisty ties or copper wiring from our remodel. The copper wiring was very rigid, however and on one mask ripped through when washed. Sticking to the twisty ties from now on.
Go old fashion at home and stock your sinks with bar soap instead of liquid. Bar soap works just as well, it costs less, and likely you have a local soap producer in your area who you can support (in which case the cost will be more, but supporting the local economy is worth the spend.) The other benefit of buying local over buying from a big box store is that the soap will likely be of higher ingredients and less harsh chemicals. Also, there’s more of a chance that you can avoid plastic packaging.
Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup
Most of us have more free time these days, so what a good idea to use that time for good. With your family, on your own, or with a friend or two masked up, go for a walk around your neighborhood and pick up litter. Wear garden gloves or washable gloves while you collect, or invest in a grabber (from your local hardware if you can, or from a local big box store) to use while picking up trash. Buying in person is better than ordering online to save on shipping and to support employment in your area.
By wearing gloves or using a grabber you ensure that germs are less likely to spread, although since the beginning of the pandemic research has shown that the virus is not as likely to live on objects and spread that way, but even before Covid it was a good idea to wear gloves when dealing with trash.