Updated: Aug 10, 2021
You’re out on one of your weekly walks in town. Most shops are open, the streets are slightly crowded. You spy with your little eye the pale, faded blue of a face mask halfway down a drain. Then another, and another, and another. A little more than a year after the start of the pandemic and those face masks litter the streets wherever we go.
As we’ve seen, the Covid crisis has increased the need for PPE (personal protective equipment, such as masks, face shields, or gowns) tenfold. And it hasn’t been without consequences. We’ve talked about it before, but most of the plastic we use isn’t recycled and PPE isn’t an exception.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom - UK institutions seem to create and encourage sustainable actions.
Here are a few examples of what’s been done in the past year.
On the 4th of June 2021, the NHS alongside the Sustainability Partnerships set up the Sustainability Day of Action. Three seminars were organised to discuss the NHS’s progress in its journey towards sustainability. In other words, the day was arranged to “showcase some of the work that is happening in the health sector”. And around the country, local initiatives followed.
All the way over in Germany, BP signed on a collaboration with SABIC to work on a new project to tackle plastic recycling in March. Centred around a circular economy, the goal is to “convert low-quality mixed and used plastic, otherwise destined for incineration or landfill”, and transform it to be used again. Hopefully a similar initiative will see the same kind of progress back home.
Speaking of home, on the 1st of July, the Treasury released a new ‘Green Financing Framework’. The Framework presents the government’s plans and agenda where the environment and climate change are concerned. Amongst the six expenditures we’ll find a focus on renewable energy and climate change adaptation. In addition, the government declares it will “actively support the research and development of innovative technologies required to meet the Net Zero target”. As a reminder, the goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Whilst there’s not much we can do but to observe our government’s steps towards a more sustainable future, there are ‘at home’ steps available to us. Number one, properly discarding your mask in a general waste bin. And if you’re looking for other tips on how to transition at home, check out our previous article on where to start.