In recognition of World Environment Day 2021, we’re taking the opportunity to look at the more definitive studies about the impact of plastic waste during the pandemic over the last year. World Environment Day was set up by the United Nations to encourage not just awareness but also action to help continue to protect the environment. So here we’re going to look at the facts and what actions we can take individually to make a difference.
‘Approximately 3.4 billion single-use face masks or face shields are discarded daily as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.’
COVID pollution: impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global plastic waste footprint
We all recognise an increase in PPE, mainly because the majority of us weren’t wearing masks before the pandemic. Although necessary, this has clearly had a huge impact on our environment by increasing the amount of plastic pollution with a large proportion putting animals at risk of choking or being entangled as well. The best solution to this problem is using reusable face masks and other PPE equipment that can be sanitised. You also have the opportunity to help larger causes. Our Masks for Good can be used over and over again, and all profits go to the Kay Mason Foundation, funding scholars to build the next generation of leaders in South Africa.
Air and Water Pollution
‘Annual European and global emission reductions of 30% and 50% for the energy, industry, road transport and international shipping sectors, and 80% for the aviation sector.’
Lower air pollution during COVID-19 lock-down: improving models and methods estimating ozone impacts on crops.
Our atmosphere and water are closely linked, meaning that positive movements in air quality also have an impact on water quality. During the pandemic there was a huge reduction in movement. This included personal cars, commercial vehicles, international shipping and air travel. Across the globe emissions reduced and this stillness also helped reduce the amount of waste washing up on beaches.
Products that we wash down our drains can cause problems for the seas and wildlife. Using products that are made of natural ingredients but still provide the peace of mind for cleanliness, like the Bower Lavender All Purpose Sanitiser Spray, which eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacteria gone without causing problems later down the line. With every Bower order, we protect 1m² of endangered seagrass thanks to our partnership with The Marine Conservation Society, helping to maintain healthier marine environments.
Reducing Natural Resource Exploitation
‘A decline in manufacturing, the service and retail industries and the production and transport of food have led to reductions in logging activity, wildlife trade and commercial fishing.’
COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown as a “Global Human Confinement Experiment” to investigate biodiversity conservation.
Choosing healthy products is increasingly important for consumers. Choosing products that have a smaller impact on our environment but still achieve the same results can be difficult to find. The wider picture also makes us look at how these products are made and what impact this manufacturing process has. The pandemic allowed us to see how a reduction in demand mutually affected the amount of natural resources being used. This is why schemes that allow us to choose the frequency we receive products give businesses the opportunity to manage and make a much more efficient workflow. Refills allow us to reduce our individual plastic waste, only use what we need and therefore help to ease the strain on natural resources.
Everything from your Washing Up Liquid to your Toilet Cleaner is now produced in a way that can reduce the impact we have on our environment. The pandemic was not an easy challenge for anyone - individuals or businesses, animals or the environment - but small changes to our most frequent activities can help to maintain the positive impact COVID19 had on the environmental world.