It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in ways we could never have predicted. In less than one year, we have grown used to the ‘new normal’, with new words and phrases like ‘social distancing’, ‘flatten the curve’, ‘ventilators’ and ‘PPE’ (Personal Protective Equipment) becoming part of our everyday vocabulary. However, just as one major event shakes the world to its core, we have to remember that there is still an ongoing environmental crisis, and in fact, the pandemic is only making it worse.
The damaging effects of disposable PPE
While it is vital that we protect ourselves from transmitting or contracting COVID-19 through the use of PPE, we have to stop and think about the damaging effects that disposable PPE has on the environment. As disposable PPE has become more readily available, even mandatory in lots of places such as shops and care settings, there has been an unfortunate rise in littering. Think about the last time you went out for a walk, you probably saw a used mask discarded on the pavement. This year’s Marine Conservation Society annual beach clean found disposable PPE items – namely masks, gloves and wet wipes – on 30% of the areas they cleaned up. There is already a litter problem when it comes to the nation’s coastlines, parks and areas of natural beauty, so when we factor in the pandemic, it’s yet another stressor on the environment that we have been working so hard in recent years to heal and sustain.
The effects have been drastic for wildlife as well. Since March, the RSPCA has reported over 900 incidents of animals getting caught in the straps of disposable face masks, along with marine animals ingesting discarded PPE after mistaking it for prey, which is often fatal. The RSPCA has been campaigning to ‘snip the straps’ – that is, to cut the elastic straps of disposable face masks in half before throwing them away. This eliminates the risk to animals, but when it comes to PPE, reusable is always better than disposable. For more wildlife to become endangered due to the pandemic would be devastating.
Eco-friendly, reusable face masks
However, all is not lost. There is plenty that we can do as consumers to make sure that we can help the environment recover and thrive during the pandemic, without sacrificing our own health and safety. At Keltic Clothing, we design with the environment in mind. Our eco-friendly, reusable face masks are anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, killing 99.9% of bacteria on both sides of the mask. Being socially and environmentally conscious is perhaps more important now than it has ever been, and with this in mind, we also make our masks from recycled plastic bottles, so we can make sure we do our bit to combat the environmental impact of the pandemic.
These environmental benefits certainly don’t mean you have to sacrifice your comfort, either. We understand that, in the grand scheme of things, face masks are a new concept and they can definitely be uncomfortable to wear and difficult to get used to. We think our masks are the most comfortable you can find in the UK – using behind the head fastenings to avoid those sore ears. If you’ve worked a long shift in a disposable mask, then you’ll know the toll it can take on your ears! They are also highly adjustable to ensure a snug and safe fit, so you can go to work knowing you, your colleagues or your employees are protected all day.
We also have a range of anti-viral snoods, which are ideal for the cold weather we are starting to get. The snoods are treated with Polygiene ViralOff® antibacterial, antiviral technology, which kills up to 99% of viruses on the snood’s fabric within 2 hours. You can protect yourself from the cold weather and COVID-19 at the same time.
Other COVID-19 PPE
Comfort is vital to us both in terms of how our PPE feels to wear, and how protected we feel whilst wearing it. Our range of COVID-19 PPE is designed for staff in workplaces and environments where social distancing may be difficult to maintain, for example, key workers and those working in essential businesses. Our disinfectant sprays also allow workers to sanitise their clothing and/or mask whilst on the job, giving residual protection for up to four hours afterward.
At Keltic Clothing, we cater particularly for businesses that are looking to place bulk orders to ensure the safety and protection of a large number of staff. Whilst this can be a daunting task, our system ensures that the larger the order, the cheaper the cost is per item of PPE. So it certainly doesn’t cost the earth to ensure that your colleagues or employees are safe and protected at work, but if we all continue to use environmentally-damaging, disposable PPE, then that is exactly what it will cost.
To read more on this here is the Guardian article click here