The landfill has had positive effects on the environment such as reduced emissions, but with the ‘new normal’ the use of plastics is increasing.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually every country in the world and at all levels. Its arrival and expansion brought about changes in societies ranging from social relations to the economy, including work and transport. No one doubts that COVID-19 is negative and that it causes very serious damage not only to health, but also to economic and social plans. To counter this, during quarantine we also talked a lot the confinement resulting from the pandemic benefited the environment and animals, drastically reducing mobility and production for prevent the spread of the virus. The normally crowded skies and roads have spent months resting from the smoke and noise, and ecosystems have recovered in many places due to the lack of tourism, to give several examples.
While it is undeniable that it has improved air quality and the ozone layer, the “new normal” has other negative consequences for the environment, mainly due to the use of plastics. Many experts already claim that masks have been found on the seabed, which is harmful to fish and other animals. On the other hand, to avoid contagion and contact with products, supermarkets have increased the amount of plastics and require the use of gloves made of the same material. In establishments like hairdressers, the use of plastics to cover furniture has also become popular and offers disposable covers that were previously made of fabric. Many uses of plastic could also be done with other washable materials or by raising hygiene awareness (if we don’t touch our face and disinfect frequently, we don’t have to wear gloves). And of course the big protagonist was the plastic used in hospitals and all kinds of medical centers, where hygiene and safety are essential.
Reducing plastics in public places is not directly in our hands, but on a small scale, we can start habits that reduce this problem. If we haven’t already, we can go to the supermarket with our own fabric bags, buy in bulk, prioritize glass-wrapped products, buy from the deli instead of taking the wrapped sausages directly, etc.
For our personal hygiene, we can buy a wooden toothbrush and comb, or use lizard soap instead of plastic gel bottles. On the other hand, if we have a meeting or a picnic with friends, everyone can bring their own cutlery and glasses, so as not to have to buy disposable cutlery. And to drink, you can put everything in a canteen or a thermos.
In general, one should avoid any single use plastics, such as straws, plastic plates, bags, cookie jars, etc. If we are a little farsighted and always carry a canteen and fruit, we will avoid buying snacks or soft drinks usually wrapped in plastic.