Masks break into micro-sized plastic fibers and can take up to 450 years to decompose

We are still in the midst of a global pandemic. And that means many people will still be advised to keep wearing, or choose to keep wearing, masks

If historical data is a reliable indicator, it can be expected that around 75 percent of the used masks, as well as other pandemic-related waste, will end up in landfills

That’s three-quarters of 129 billion masks that end up in the trash monthly — or 3.4 billion daily — according to one frequently cited estimate of global mask use

Polypropylene, it notes, “is one of the most commonly produced plastics and the high usage has led to a large waste accumulation in the environment.”

"Plastic is designed to be durable and long lasting, which is great for some applications, but for items that we use for such a temporary time

Just a single face mask, according to a study in Environmental Advances, can release as many as 173,000 microfibers per day into the sea

Testa, who founded nonprofit Hannah4Change, often double masks. "I have cloth masks that I can reuse and wash under my N95, so I can keep reusing the N95," she says