Don't be a swine. Join The Sun's Mask Force and recycle that mask today, says Jeremy Clarkson

HELP Britain’s post-Covid clean-up and do your bit for the planet – join The Sun’s Mask Force today!

We are urging you ALL to protect our wildlife by recycling your single-use facemasks at our collection points in 488 Morrisons stores across the country.

Some 100 million masks are thrown away each week in the UK, with many ending up harming or even killing birds and animals which mistake them for food or get trapped in the elastic straps.

They also get into the sea and threaten marine life.

With the help of recycling firm ReWorked, the disposable masks will be turned into outdoor goods, other types of PPE and building materials.

Sun columnist and TV favourite ­Jeremy Clarkson joked: “I’m totally against the death penalty — except when it comes to littering. For that it should be given instantly. Don’t litter your single-use masks. Put them in one of The Sun’s bins, please.”

TV adventurer Bear Grylls added: “Single-use masks are one of the ­biggest litter problems. The ones that end up on the floor or in our oceans can damage our amazing wildlife and planet, which is incredibly sad.

“The Sun’s Mask Force campaign is a great way to turn the things that protect those around us into some-thing useful at the end of their life.”

We are asking you to drop off your masks at Morrisons in the special recycling boxes provided and collect and hygienically recycle any old ones you may find.

TV doctor Ranj Singh added: “Using one of The Sun’s Mask Force boxes helps you take care of our environment while keeping safe, and gives them a new lease of life.”

Each mask takes hundreds of years to degrade, during which time it releases harmful microplastics into the environment, including our food chain.

Former Love Islander Lucie Donlan, who is an experienced surfer, said: “It’s awful to see poor animals that we are harming with Covid pollution like these plastic masks.

“Something like The Sun’s Mask Force should have come sooner. ­People can make dropping off their masks part of their weekly routine, just like reusing their bags for shopping.”

Mask Force is backed by charities the RSPCA, SeaLife, City To Sea and The Wildlife Trusts.

RSPCA chief Chris ­Sherwood said: “Sadly, carelessly ­discarded PPE is becoming as ­commonplace as other litter, so we welcome The Sun’s campaign for used facemasks to be recycled.”

A Sea Life spokeswoman said: “The pandemic has brought with it a fresh wave of plastic pollution which threatens our oceans, having a devastating effect on the animals and ecosystems living within them.

“We’re therefore pleased to support The Sun’s campaign, which aims to tackle this issue through recycling masks into useful materials such as furniture or building supplies.”

How to recycle your disposable masks

NIPPING out to Morrisons for your weekly shop? Then round up your used disposable masks first.

You can recycle them at your local store – just look out for The Sun’s Mask Force recycling box and pop them in. Job done.

These boxes are in front of 488 stores in England, Scotland and Wales and only for disposable, single-use plastic masks.

You can go green and make it part of your weekly shopping routine.

Once each box is full, its contents will be sent off to begin a new, sustainable life, turned into benches, building materials and such like.

But remember, keep a mask ON in store, unless exempt for medical reasons.

Joan Edwards, of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We encourage people to love and look after our country-side, reserves, beaches and parks, and to take all rubbish home to dispose of responsibly. That’s why we support The Sun’s Mask Force — it’s a great idea.”

City To Sea’s policy manager Steve Hynd said: “We’ve heard predictions of more face masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean. We need solutions, which is why City To Sea backs The Sun’s campaign.”

‘More plastic than fish in seas by 2050’

By Ben Fogle

UNDER park benches, hanging from trees, entangled in bushes, floating down rivers – used facemasks seem to be everywhere, blighting our towns, cities and countryside.

Around 194BILLION disposable masks and gloves are used globally every MONTH. In the UK alone, we use around 53million a day, of which 90 per cent are discarded.

While they have been vital in fighting ­Covid-19, we now face another catastrophe.

Most single-use masks and gloves are made up of a variety of plastics, which take 450 years to fully break down if they end up in the rivers and oceans. As they break apart, the tiny particles of ­plastic begin to turn our waterways into a ­plastic soup filled with particles.

According to the United Nations, for whom I am the Patron for the ­Wilderness, 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris, the majority of which is plastic.

Fish, seabirds and turtles have become entangled in it and consume it, causing ­suffocation, starvation and drowning. Plastic waste kills up to a million seabirds a year.

We are already facing a plastic blight from non-essential single-use products, many of them plastic. We were facing a crisis before the pandemic but now we face the ­problem of single-use PPE. The answer is simple: We need to wean ­ourselves off this throwaway culture.

We all know the importance of recycling, and now The Sun has teamed up with Morrisons to provide a safe, effective place for you to ­recycle your masks.

Research shows that without action, plastic could outweigh the fish in the oceans by 2050. We must all play our part to ensure it doesn’t.

I’d like to thank Sun readers for getting behind the paper’s important campaign in our fight for the environment.

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