Today’s Solutions: April 21, 2024

Disposable surgical masks are a prevalent problem worldwide due to the pandemic. The issue is that we need them to keep ourselves and each other safe, but there is no denying the massive quantity of litter that their constant use produces.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro is doing its best to turn this problem around by transforming used masks into litter pickers, which they then provide to all 332 schools and colleges in Cornwall.

Tanya Cowling from Sterile Services at the Royal Cornwall Hospital explains how they turn the masks into useful devices that help reduce the problem of litter in general. “Obviously,” she says, “we need to remove the ear straps and the wire that sits over your nose. Then that all gets melted down and that makes one of the big blocks which then gets taken away and grounded down into plastic granules and repurposed.”

One litter picker requires 45 masks.

Sustainability lead at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust Roz Davies says that “pre-Covid [they] were using about 300 masks a day… and then Covid struck and that increased to 10,000 a day, and [they] used to have massive piles of masks in the bin.”

Now, things are much better, and the project also gives the younger generation in Cornwall an opportunity to create sustainable habits and cultivate environmental awareness that will hopefully last throughout their lives.

One student says that picking litter with her mask-made litter-picker “made [her] feel happier because we were then saving more animals from getting stuff tangled in their insides.”

Eventually, the hospital hopes that they can eradicate the use of disposable masks entirely. “We all want to get to reusable [surgical masks],” says Davies. “That’s the end result, but the barriers are there for a very good reason and we must stick with them to keep our staff and patients safe… until then, at least [the litter-picker initiative] repurposes what we’ve got.”

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

3 simple ways to save an extra $250 per month

Everyone loves to save money, so here are three easy ways you can free up $250 in your budget per month. Cancel subscriptions you ...

Read More

APA, AAPI, APIDA or AANHPI? The history and significance of the “Asian Americ...

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ― Lao Tzu By Arielle Tiangco Weeks ago, seated cross-legged on my couch, I ...

Read More

Playing video games benefit key regions of the brain

A recent study from Georgia State University found that sensorimotor decision-making skills were superior in regular video game players to those that didn’t play ...

Read More

Novel blood cancer treatment effective in three-fourths of trial patients

According to new findings from an ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical research trial, a novel investigational immunotherapy resulted in successful response rates for 73 percent ...

Read More