Help Britain’s post-Covid cleanup and do your part for the planet – join the Mask Force today!
We’re urging you all to protect our wildlife by recycling your single-use facemasks at our collection points in 488 Morrisons stores nationwide.
About 100 million masks are thrown away every week in the UK. Many end up harming or killing birds and animals that mistake them for food or become trapped in elastic bandages.
They also get into the ocean and pose a threat to marine life.
With the help of recycling firm Reworked, disposable masks will be converted into outdoor items, other types of PPE and construction materials.
Granthshala columnist and TV favorite Jeremy Clarkson joked: “I’m totally against the death penalty – except when it comes to the trash. It needs to be given to it immediately. Don’t throw your single-use mask in the trash.” . Please put them in one of the boxes.”
TV adventurer Bear Grylls said: “Single-use masks are one of the biggest litter problems. Those that end up on the floor or in our oceans can harm our wonderful wildlife and the planet, which is incredibly sad.
“The Mask Force campaign is a great way to transform the things that people around us into useful things at the end of their lives.”
We are asking you to leave your masks in the special recycling box provided at Morrisons and collect and hygienically recycle any old masks you can find.
TV doctor Ranj Singh said: “Using one of the Mask Force boxes helps you care for our environment while keeping you safe, and gives them a new lease of life.”
Each mask takes hundreds of years to degrade, during which it releases harmful microplastics into the environment, including our food chain.
Former Love Islander Lucy Donlan, a veteran surfer, said: “It is horrifying to see poor animals that we are harmed by Covid pollution like these plastic masks.
“Something like ‘s Mask Force should have come sooner. People can make discarding their masks part of their weekly routine, such as reusing their bags for shopping.”
The Mask Force is supported by the charities RSPCA, SeaLife, City to Sea and The Wildlife Trust.
Chris Sherwood, head of the RSPCA, said: “Sadly, carelessly discarded PPE is becoming as common as any other waste, so we welcome the campaign to recycle used facemasks.”
A Sea Life spokesperson said: “The pandemic has brought with it a new wave of plastic pollution, which threatens our oceans, with devastating effects on the animals and ecosystems that live within them.
“That’s why we’re pleased to support the campaign, which aims to address this issue through recycling masks into useful materials like furniture or building supplies.”
How to recycle your disposable mask
Heading to Morrison’s for your weekly shop? Then round up your used disposable masks first.
You can recycle them at your local store – just look for the Mask Force recycling box and pop them in. The work is over.
These boxes are in 488 storefronts in England, Scotland and Wales and are for disposable, single-use plastic masks only.
You can go green and make it a part of your weekly shopping routine.
Once each box is filled, its contents will be sent to start a new, sustainable life, turning into benches, building materials and the like.
But remember, unless exempt for medical reasons, keep the mask in the store.
Joan Edwards of The Wildlife Trusts said: “We encourage people to love and care about our country-side, reserves, beaches and parks, and to take all the waste home by disposing it responsibly. That’s why we Masks support the Force – it’s a good idea.”
City to Sea policy manager Steve Hynd said: “We have heard predictions of more face masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean. We need solutions, which is why City to Sea supported the campaign.”
‘By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish’
by Ben Fogle
Under park benches, hanging from trees, tangled in bushes, floating down rivers – the facemasks used in our towns, cities and countryside seem to be everywhere.
Around 194 billion disposable masks and gloves are used worldwide every month. In the UK alone, we use around 53 million a day, of which 90 per cent is discarded.
While they have been instrumental in fighting COVID-19, we are now facing another calamity.
Most single-use masks and gloves are made from a variety of plastics, which take 450 years to completely degrade when they end up in rivers and oceans. As soon as they break apart, tiny plastic particles begin to clog our waterways into a plastic soup full of particles.
According to the United Nations, for which I am the custodian of the wild, 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris, most of which is plastic.
Fish, seabirds and turtles get trapped in it and consume it, which causes suffocation, starvation and drowning. One lakh seabirds die every year from plastic waste.
We are already facing the problem of plastics from non-essential single-use products, many of which are plastic. We were facing crisis before the pandemic but now we are facing the problem of single-use PPE. The answer is simple: we need to rid ourselves of this wasteful culture.
We all know the importance of recycling, and have now teamed up with Morrisons to provide you with a safe, effective place to recycle your masks.
Research shows that without action, plastics could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. We all must do our part to ensure that this does not happen.
I would like to thank the readers of The Granthshala for leaving behind the important campaign of the newspaper in our fight for the environment.