Are You Disposing Your Face Mask Properly?

are you disposing your face mask properly?

Many of us are using disposable face masks right now and that's great, but what do you do with it afterwards?

Environmentalist Anthony Tan Kee Huat shares with us his concern about the excessive use and careless disposal of face masks.

"I have found face masks lying on walkways, and in parking lots. It poses an immediate health hazard as we do not know whether the user was healthy or otherwise."

"It is also a garbage issue, worse if it clogs the drains. It also poses a safety issue to humans as a person may slip on the mask and suffer a bad fall."

He adds that animals may also get their legs, mouths or beaks entangled in the ear loops of the masks.

are you disposing your face mask properly?

Photo via RSPCA

Almost a month into the mandatory face-mask ruling, there are still people who haven’t gotten the message about how to dispose their mask safely.

So, how should you actually bin them?

Use the ear loops to tie the mask, or, cut off the ear loops, which is considered additional good practice.

Then, throw the used mask in a waste basket or bin - not a recycling bin!

Did you know? Globally, humans are using and disposing of an estimated 129 billion face masks every single month that we deal with COVID-19.

With COVID-19 here to stay for the foreseeable future and with insufficient guidance on how to discard face masks, Anthony shares with us what we can do to curb this issue.

"I would like to recommend homes and offices designate one specific bin for collection of these used face masks, then these face masks can be disposed in one plastic bag."

Disposable face masks are plastic-based and have a long lifespan of approximately 450 years after they are discarded, ending up in landfills or oceans.

The materials never fully degrade, but rather shrink or break into smaller pieces called microplastics, posing a risk to wildlife.

Let's be cautious and dispose of our face masks the right way!


by Roshini Ravindran