Discarded COVID-19 masks are now littering seas and oceans

June 10, 2020 by  
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In May, the French nonprofit Opération Mer Propre reported collecting several used face masks within waves of the Mediterranean Sea. According to the organization’s report, there has been a surge in “COVID waste”, including masks, latex gloves and plastic hand sanitizer bottles, in the past 3 months. Unfortunately, this only compounds a waste problem that has been around for many years. According to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), over 13 million metric tons of plastic waste go into the oceans each year. UNEP predicts that the amount of waste dumped in the oceans will increase up to 10 times the current amount in the next 15 years. However, the UN report did not anticipate a situation where people around the world had to use face masks on a daily basis. The pandemic now complicates all efforts geared toward a safer and more sustainable environment. Related: How to safely dispose contaminated gloves, masks, wipes and more According to Joffrey Peltier of Opération Mer Propre, dozens of face masks, gloves and hand sanitizer bottles were found at the bottom of the sea among other plastic waste. Opération Mer Propre is one of many organizations concerned about the fate of the environment after the coronavirus pandemic . “Soon there will be more masks than jellyfish in the waters of the Mediterranean,” said Laurent Lombard of Opération Mer Propre. Now, Opération Mer Propre and other organizations are calling for a more cautious approach to the use of face masks and other medical tools. Environmental activists are championing the use of reusable face masks and more washing of hands instead of wearing latex gloves. The oceans are already overwhelmed with plastic waste from our normal lifestyles. If we keep on pumping medical waste into the environment, we risk pushing thousands of ocean species to extinction. In the words of Peltier, “With all the alternatives, plastic isn’t the solution to protect us from COVID.” Via The Guardian Image via Noah

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Discarded COVID-19 masks are now littering seas and oceans

How to safely dispose contaminated gloves, masks, wipes and more

April 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

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Our new normal, the novel coronavirus pandemic, has caused society to take up more rigorous hygiene regimens. Unfortunately, personal protective equipment like masks and gloves quickly become contaminated, and they shouldn’t be tossed carelessly — especially not littered in parking lots, where they are destined to end up harming the environment. Because the pathogen causing COVID-19 can survive for hours or even days on different surfaces, observing appropriate disposal protocol is crucial. So, here are some recommendations, which are both safer for public health and better for our planet, on what to do with used gloves, masks, disinfectants, wipes, paper towels and more. Gloves Those who venture out shopping for essentials during this pandemic are often sporting disposable gloves. But wearing the same gloves from place to place or using your phone while wearing gloves just spreads germs. It’s important to regularly change gloves if you are wearing them. Wondering about proper methods to remove contaminated gloves from your hands? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers an illustrative tutorial page. After safely removing your gloves, you can dispose of them in a trash can. Do not be the person that throws them on the ground! Of course, the Waste Advantage Magazine recommends bagging used gloves before throwing them away for safe disposal. Some gloves can normally be recycled, but during the pandemic, it is best to throw gloves away to keep everyone safe. To reduce waste, you can also simply wash your hands with hot, soapy water after running an errand. If you visit multiple stores, wash your hands after each one. Masks Another prevalent countermeasure against COVID-19’s spread is wearing masks, for which the World Health Organization (WHO) offers downloadable tutorials. WHO recommends to “discard [the single-use mask] immediately in a closed bin.” Related: Discarded face masks now threatening wildlife habitats Traditionally, masks are supposed to be discarded frequently. But with the current shortages, many people are making their own with cotton and/or wearing the same mask for long periods of time. If you have paper masks, they should be carefully removed and thrown out after each use. They cannot safely be reused or recycled. N95 masks should be reserved for medical staff only. If you do have N95 masks, check with your state’s public health department, your city’s health department or local hospitals for donating procedures. Have a cloth mask? The CDC offers advice on how to make, wear and wash cloth masks. After each wear, wash cloth masks in a washing machine before reuse. Hot water and regular laundry detergent should do the trick at cleaning these masks, and you can also add color-safe bleach as an extra precaution. Disinfectants, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer Household cleaning products and hand sanitizers are being used much more than usual. So what should you do with all of the packaging? Packaging can be appropriately discarded in either recycle bins or trash cans, depending on the labels. Related: How to properly and safely dispose of these 10 items in your home As for sponges and scouring pads, those should be thrown in the trash. For containers of specialty cleaners, like oven cleaner, check with your local waste management company for advice on how to safely dispose of these items. According to Earth911 , it is important to read the labels of cleaning items for specific disposal instructions. “For example, many antibacterial cleaning products contain triclosan, which could contribute to the antibiotic resistance of bacteria, so it should not be poured down your drain.” Wipes Despite marketing’s ploy to pass off the ever-popular wipe as ‘flushable,’ it isn’t. Many municipal plumbing systems were not designed to handle flushed wipes. While many people stocked up on wipes after the toilet paper supply ran dry, disinfectant wipes have also flown off the shelves. But Green Matters warns against flushing both ‘flushable’ and disinfectant wipes. “The only thing (besides bodily fluids) that you should be flushing down the toilet is all that toilet paper you stocked up on.” RecycleNow also explains, “Baby wipes, cosmetic wipes, bathroom cleaning wipes and moist toilet tissues are not recyclable and are not flushable, either, even though some labels say they are. They should always be placed in your rubbish bin.” Paper towels and other paper products Many paper products are labeled as ‘made from recycled materials .’ Accordingly, many consumers believe paper towels and napkins can be chucked into recycling bins. However, Business Insider cautions otherwise. Why? Soiled paper towels and napkins ruin whole batches of recyclables. Besides, if you purchased recycled paper towels, their “fibers are too short to be used again,” meaning they can’t be recycled, even if they are clean. If you used paper towels with chemical cleaners or if they are greasy, they should go into the trash. If you are sick, the trash can is again the best place for used paper products. Otherwise, paper products that are not chlorine-bleached can be composted . Images via Inhabitat, Unsplash and Pixabay

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Futuristic, off-grid home features a luxurious interior design

April 16, 2020 by  
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Sleek, modern, flexible and off-grid — this new, futuristic housing concept from Stockholm-based IO House has just about everything you would wish for in a small home. The Space is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining home that provides homeowners with “the most advanced conveniences of modern life with the smallest ecological footprint.” According to the IO House team, The Space was designed to be the ultimate abode when it comes to futuristic living. The innovative design is completely self-sustaining , meaning that it does not require outside sewage, electrical or water systems. Related: Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials All of the residence’s necessary systems, such as electricity ( solar power ), heating and ventilation, have been directly installed into the structure and are controllable via mobile phones or tablets. Everything, from the state-of-the-art appliances to the oxygen level control systems, is controlled with an app. Because of this, the off-grid home can be transported and installed in just about any location. At just 645 square feet, The Space is a compact home that is covered in rooftop solar panels. The prefab home is built off-site and delivered to the homeowners’ desired location. Once it is delivered, the off-grid home is installed on the landscape using the utmost care to cause as little impact as possible. The exterior is clad in a dark facade that lets it blend in with any location, from waterfront to woodland. From the open-air deck, sliding glass doors lead into the interior. Here, the ultra-contemporary design really sets the house apart. Sleek and functional, the setting is inspired by the living spaces found inside luxury yachts. Large, floor-to-ceiling glass doors and panels bring in an abundance of natural light and astounding views to boot. The home comes completely furnished with high-end products, but it can be customized to individual tastes. You can learn more about The Space’s futuristic design and technology over on the IO House Facebook and Instagram pages. + IO House Images via IO HOUSE

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Jozef Mrva Creates Spooky Shamanic Masks with Recycled Cardboard

June 12, 2013 by  
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Nietzsche-influenced freethinker and artist Jozef Mrva sees his work as an experiment in ritualistic expression. His recycled cardboard masks  take after animals and invite people to immerse themselves in new roles to create a primitive identity. Convinced that aesthetics without metaphysics is nonsense, this Czech creator encourages people to use design as a medium to express their will.  Mrva ‘s use of readily available cardboard  also gives way to an image that is both rough and fragile, and allows for the masks to be disposed in a sustainable way. + Jozef Mrva Photos © Nikola Ivanov Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal mask , Animals , Art , DIY , Jozef Mrva , masks , Nietzsche , recycled cardboard , Recycled Materials , recycling / compost , Shamanic        

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Jozef Mrva Creates Spooky Shamanic Masks with Recycled Cardboard

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