Despite the increasing environmental awareness of many Europeans, more than 60 million tonnes of plastic are still consumed in Europe every year. The fight against Corona could add to the plastic flood, because despite the images of protective masks in European waters and large quantities of disposable protective equipment, plastics are still too often used as single-use products and thrown away today.
The Corona pandemic has led to drastic changes in the production, consumption and waste of plastics. It led to a sudden increase in global demand for personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizers.
During the initial efforts to stop the spread of the virus, the World Health Organisation estimated that 89 million medical masks per month were needed worldwide, as well as 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million protective goggles.
COVID-19, combined with strict hygiene requirements, has had a significant impact on the consumption of single-use plastic packaging and products such as plastic cutlery in most parts of Europe. Several major coffee retailers have stopped allowing customers to refill reusable containers with disposable cups. Also, more and more people are shopping online and many products are packaged in single-use plastic.
EEA General Director Hans Bruyninckx believes that the problem plastic poses is due to the fact that our production and consumption systems are not sustainable.
The best way to address this, he said, is a shift towards a fundamentally sustainable and circular plastics economy, where materials are reused and recycled more wisely and effectively, or a general shift towards sustainable alternatives.
One of these sustainable alternatives is the antiviral and antibacterial ElephantSkin gloves, which are made from sustainable organic cotton from Europe. The smart ElephantSkin gloves not only reduce the risk of transmitting viruses and bacteria, they also offer a good alternative to plastic gloves, as you can save 180 pairs of disposable gloves with one pair of ElephantSkin gloves. This corresponds to a plastic reduction of 2.6kg.
You can buy the antiviral and antibacterial gloves here!
(Source: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wissen/corona-pandemie-plastik-muell-1.5189027,10.02.2021; EEA Report No 18/2020: https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/plastics-the-circular-economy-and, 10.02.2021)