Increase in disposable items during COVID-19 takes toll on environment

SALISBURY, Md. – Environmental experts say it’s important now more than ever before to pay attention to the environment.

“We can make small changes to make big differences,” said Founder for Go Green OC, Josh Chamberlain.

Experts say since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, waste and the use of single-use plastic has skyrocketed.

“Single-use plastic has increased by 250-300%,” said Chamberlian.

“We’ve actually seen an increase in our solid waste by 15% since we had to shut down our recycling processes back in March,” said Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Salisbury, Alyssa Hastings.

Experts say between disposable face masks, takeout containers, hand sanitizing wipes, and more, they’re finding these items in places they shouldn’t be.

“A lot of the waste that we’re finding is mostly near the waterways. A lot of those plastic bags and masks can be mistaken for jellyfish fed on by turtles or other fish,” said Chamberlian.

Other places like Wicomico County even had to stop recycling for some time because of the pandemic which led to a lot of concerns.

“We’re using a little bit more of our capacity on the landfill and of course there’s methane emissions and things associated with that,” said Hastings.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Environmentalists say it’s still possible for businesses to help reduce waste amid the pandemic.

“People can just do a QR code and people scan it with their phone and it pulls up a digital version of the menu. There are ways that restaurants and businesses can use these little helpful tricks to help reduce their waste,” said Hastings.

And it’s not just businesses that can make a difference. You can too.

“Try composting at home. It’ll reduce your waste by 50-75. We want to do everything we can to make sure that waste ends up in the proper receptacles,” said Chamberlain.


Categories: Local News, Maryland