Lockdowns have sent the amount of waste created by every country sky-rocketing. From take-out containers to masks, society has rapidly increased the amount of waste on the planet.

Forced to provide only/mostly take-out orders, restaurants are using an unusually high amount of plastics. But they are not alone in this. Because of the necessary use of gloves, masks, etc., people are using an amount of plastic that is much higher than pre-COVID19.

In response to the over crowded hospitals, medical waste around the world has increased exponentially. In Wuhan, hospitals have are producing an average of 240 metric tons of medical waste per day during the outbreak, an average which was nearly 200 metric tons less pre-COVID. When COVID-19 added additional medical waste to a landfill in West Java, Indonesia, it collapsed and contaminated the nearby Cisadane River, which is responsible for 80% of the water supply for locals. 

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” has been a term utilized in American society to encourage decreasing the waste one produces. However, the pandemic has uprooted what is considered the foundation of environmental courtesy in the U.S.A. In an effort to comply with social distance requirements, many recycling programs have been postponed. This has caused an increase of products in landfills. Many places in the U.S.A have also banned reusable bags due to the potential spread of COVID-19 (as they are reused) and are back to using more plastic bags (most likely a single use).

% Increase Residential Waste
% Decrease Medical Waste

How Wasteful?

Partly due to what is called “The Amazon effect” and the huge increase in boxes from online orders, residential waste has increased 30% from April 2019 to April 2020. However, comparing those same months, the postponement of surgeries has lead to a 12% decrease in Medical Waste. 

“COVID changes have environmental impact.”

“Indirect effects of COVID-19 on the environment”

“COVID-19 Medical Waste Is Heavily Polluting This River in Indonesia”

“COVID-19 Fallout: Tons of Trash”

“Snip The Straps Off Disposable Masks After Use – Animals’ Lives Depend On It”