New project will help the NHS turn used face masks into litter pickers.
It is estimated that 58 million face masks are used every single day in the UK, making them one of the most common forms of plastic pollution, with an estimated 1.5 billion masks already entering the ocean.
In a bid to combat this new form of environmental pollution, recycling social enterprise Waterhaul will work with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust to help them recycle their waste.
By recycling the waste, it will save the Trust from having to pay £550 per tonne to send the masks to the incinerator.
Full-scale manufacturing of the recycled litter pickers will begin in May and is set to be completed in the UK.
Harry Dennis, CEO of Waterhaul said: ‘This new wave of plastic PPE pollution is a very real threat.
‘We’re aiming to turn this problem into part of the solution. By working with the NHS Trust we can intercept this plastic at the source before it heads to landfill and create a useful product that will enable us to collectively tackle the masks which have already escaped into the environment.’
Roz Davies, general manager at The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, added: ‘The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has been clear that its vision is to create a circular economy and tackle the growing challenges of single use PPE.
‘It’s fantastic news for our staff, patients and visitors to know that we can create a positive outcome from our waste – and that it will go on to make even further positive impact in the form of litter pickers.’
In related news, earlier this year Melanie Desert explored the environmental impact that these abandoned facemasks are having on the environment.
Photo Credit – Pixabay