Press Release

For immediate release

Brits are sending over 1.6 billion non-biodegradable masks to landfill every month

  • 26.7 million Brits say they use blue surgical masks (51%)
  • Every day a total of 53.5 million single-use blue surgical masks are sent to landfill
  • In two days the UK uses enough masks to cover London

22 September 2020, LONDON – The UK could be sending 53.5 million single-use blue surgical masks to landfill every day according to new research from shopping comparison site,

The research found that over half (51%) of Brits say they use blue surgical masks, equalling 26.7 million people. If each of these people used two masks a day, this would result in 53.5 million disposable masks used in the fight against coronavirus each day.

Over a month, the figure rises to 1.6 billion of the non-biodegradable masks being sent to landfill, where they take between 20 and 30 years to biodegrade.

To put this into context, we are currently using enough blue surgical masks to:

  • Equal the same weight as 100 cars per day
  • Cover the whole of London in under 2 days
  • Reach the Moon in 2.5 days

Commenting on the findings, Georgia Rose-Johnson, shopping specialist at said:

“Wearing a mask is an important part of controlling the virus so it is encouraging to see many people wearing masks. However, our research has shown that many being used are single-use masks that cannot be recycled and take over 20 years to break down in landfill. As masks are likely to be part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future, choosing reusable masks is a sensible way to help the environment and even keep costs down. Choosing a reusable cloth mask will enable you to wear them multiple times and will help to decrease the number of masks heading to landfill. You can see a detailed guide on the differences here:”

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Finder commissioned Onepoll on 14 to the 17 August 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.


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