Metro Vancouver residents disposed of an estimated 260 million masks last year.
The number is 2.3 times more than the 109 million masks discarded in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started.
On average, each resident in the region threw way 94 masks in 2021.
That’s more than double the 40 masks apiece that ended up in the garbage in 2020.
The figures are found in a report included in the May 13 agenda of the zero-waste committee of the Metro Vancouver regional government.
The report was prepared by Terry Fulton, a senior project engineer with solid-waste services, and covers the broader subject of waste composition for 2021.
All in all, residents in the region disposed of an estimated 710 million items of personal protective equipment, or PPE, during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.
Gloves, which are counted individually, accounted for 350 million, a drop from the 371 million in 2020.
Disposable wipes are estimated at 100 million from 2021, up from 48 million.
The B.C. provincial government lifted the indoor mask mandate effective March 11, 2022.
About a month later, on April 8, the vaccination requirement ended in order to access businesses, events, and other services.