What damage could face masks do to the environment?

Tap above to watch video report by Martin Stew

What sort of face mask should you use if you want to protect the environment as well as the people around you?

To put that figure in context, that's ten times of the weight of the steel used to build The Shard.

Even if masks do get into bins domestic rubbish is not incinerated like clinical waste. In Asia where single use masks are the norm, they double bag their rubbish to stop contamination.

The resulting added plastic pollution runs into millions of tonnes. On the flip side there is an economic and environmental cost of reusable masks. Cotton needs lots of water to grow and you have to wash them regularly.

Face mask in a washing machine

That figure would reduce if masks were just added to the rest of the laundry and expert advice says the washing machine does not need to be at 60C. If you have good detergent 30C works fine.