How can people protect the environment while protecting themselves from coronavirus?


Facemasks beside a question mark with a stylised image of a virus forming the dot.

Children have told us they’re worried that people aren’t getting rid of facemasks properly, and that people are forgetting about the environment because we’re so busy with Covid-19.

They’ve been unhappy to see so many disposable masks on the ground as litter. And they think people should use reusable face masks where they can, or other types of reusable face coverings.

Disposable masks can often only be used once. They’ve been in the news due to the amount of plastic waste they’ve generated.

Taking children seriously

Children often tell us they’re concerned about the environment, and that it’s not something adults think about enough. As Article 12 of the UNCRC says, this is an opinion which we should listen to and take seriously.

So we’ve agreed to highlight that this is something that matters a lot to them.

What does the Scottish Government say about getting rid of face masks?

The Scottish Government has advice on its website explaining:

  • how to take proper care of reusable face masks, and
  • how to get rid of face masks which can’t be used again.

As it says, disposable face coverings and gloves can’t be recycled, so will be more damaging to the environment than reusable alternatives. But if you do use them, you should still make sure to put them in a bin.

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