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Why You Should Cut off the Elastic Band of Single Use Masks

Starting in December 2019, our day-to-day life began to change. Strengthening of hygiene measures, changing the working hours of establishments, imposing travel restrictions… While we are doing our best to end the pandemic, many have forgotten about the environmental crisis. Today we are going to tell you how to dispose of old single-use masks and what happens if you don’t do it properly.

Recently the coronavirus has taken the spotlight off many threats to humanity. But we need to remember that those problems are still relevant.

Why Are Single-Use Masks Dangerous?

According to environmental organizations, we are on the verge of environmental catastrophe.

Today disposable masks can be found in the most unexpected places. On the ground, in water bodies, and even on trees, where they are carried by the wind. According to the latest estimates, even if only 1% of disposable masks doesn’t make it to the trash can, this means 10 million masks pollute our planet each month.

In Italy alone during the easing of lockdown restrictions 1 billion and 500 million pairs of disposable gloves were used per month. The same applies to masks. However, we still don’t know what to do with them after use. Some activists are promoting the idea of ​​recycling, but, unfortunately, this medical waste can only be disposed of. In particular, because face masks are made from different materials.

What to Do With Used Medical Masks

A huge number of masks end up in the habitat of animals. Wildlife conservation organizations are now working to rescue them from medical waste. The elastic bands are especially dangerous.

They get tangled around the paws and necks of animals. Not to mention the fact that the waste itself ends up in the stomachs of terrestrial and marine animals. If the mask gets tangled on a bird’s leg, the bird won’t be able to fly and may even lose the leg.

Even if you always throw masks in the trash can, chances are animals will find them in the landfill. Therefore, make sure you cut off the elastic band before throwing out used medical masks.

The responsibility for this lies with each of us. Besides, the virus can stay on masks for several days. Therefore, after use, they must be put in bags separately from the rest of the garbage. Needless to say, you can’t throw them out into the street. Many countries are fighting against the improper disposal of masks.

  • In the UAE, authorities said they would fine drivers who discard used masks from cars for about $ 270. They track the lawbreakers using cameras.
  • A separate processing plant for used masks has been built in Wuhan.

Let’s do our best to go through the pandemic with minimal losses! Sometimes even removing the elastic band from one mask can save someone’s life. We very much hope that the situation will soon improve in terms of environmental safety too.


Like many people nowadays, I love to explore new places. My favorite type is slow travelling, when you can really blend in with locals and learn about new cultures and languages. But I think there are also perfect times for enjoying freshly baked pastry, a cup of fragrant coffee, and a good movie in the comfort of your own home. I guess I'm kind of a cultural omnivore, and I watch different types of movies, but the ones about art and food inspire me the most!

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