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Throw-away plastic up almost 300% in Canada since pandemic began

Tuesday, March 16th 2021, 2:20 pm - The disposal of single use plastics has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, so these Canadians invented a biodegradable recipe to help solve the problem.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reversed Canada’s trajectory towards a drastic reduction in plastic consumption, according to environmental experts.

“The International Waste Management Association estimates that throw-away plastic has increased 250 to 300 per cent since the start of this pandemic,” Karen Wirsig, Plastic Program Manager at Environmental Defence, told The Weather Network.

Last October, Canada announced a list of items that would be banned by the end of 2021 as part of the overall strategy to combat plastic pollution. However, the need for personal protective gear to slow the spread of COVID-19 not only means that this timeline will likely be delayed, but in the meantime an unprecedented volume of plastic is making its way into landfills and waterways.

To provide a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic face masks, FPInnovations partnered with Natural Resources Canada to create “the world’s first ready-to-produce biodegradable and eco-friendly non-medical mask.”

FPInnovations Credit: FPInnovations

The masks are made of three-ply paper fibres and biodegradable plastic, which reuses these materials that would have otherwise gone to waste. The elastic ear loops and nose pieces are also biodegradable and the mask holds up to plastic alternatives with an impressive 95 per cent filtration performance.

A press release from FPInnovations states that the masks can be mass-produced domestically without any new equipment due to Canada’s existing industry capacity and are ready for commercialization by Canadian manufacturers.

“The development of a biodegradable mask clearly shows that stimulating the bioeconomy can contribute to a cleaner environment in Canada. The outstanding collective scientific and technological expertise of the forest sector has been key to the success and speed of this project, and is proof that together, we are capable of bringing eco-friendly bio-sourced products through the pipeline from research to market within just months,” said Stéphane Renou, President and Chief Executive Officer of FPInnovations, in the company’s press release.

FACE MASKS TURN INTO ROADS WITH THIS PANDEMIC POLLUTION SOLUTION:

Thumbnail credit: Pixabay

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