The coronavirus pandemic has seen a considerable rise in the use of single-use face masks & other PPE items. Globally we are currently using 129 billion face masks every month. Eight million tonnes of plastic waste is already ending up in the world’s oceans every year, and the impact of COVID-19 will only increase these figures.
This Big Idea is to request the support from the SU by way of a policy to lobby the University on exploring the idea of, and implementing PPE recycling on campus. (Face masks and lateral flow devices specifically)
Face masks and lateral flow devices can be recycled, and if done so on campus would go some way to reducing the overall impact to the environment and wildlife both locally and worldwide.
Disposable face masks can be found in plenty on the streets around campus and the University are proactively advertising the ease and availability of these single use masks in student communications. UCLan are keen to promote the sustainability credentials of the new Student Centre however the People & Planet's 2022 University League for Sustainability Universities in the UK places UCLan 53rd nationally, so there is much work to be done and this would be a good opportunity for the University to showcase their environmental commitments. https://peopleandplanet.org/university/129485/ul19
Obviously understandably there are current rules and university guidelines for the wearing of face masks due to the pandemic, however this does not mean we cannot still take steps to reduce the impact from them, and where possible divert PPE equipment away from landfill. There are several options and organisations doing things to divert these away from landfill.
Thank you for your time reading this and please support this Big Idea even if in principle, so it can be discussed and voted on at Student Council??
(For example - An organisation called ReWorked based in Hull offer a scheme where they fully recycle PPE equipment at a small cost - a good video can be found here
on the process https://youtu.be/hE-U7bxUyaA / or their website https://www.reworked.com/2020/12/18/how-to-recycle-ppe-covid-masks-gloves-visors-etc/