Between environmental concerns and compliance: How does media messaging affect motivation and choice between disposable versus reusable facemasks?

Lead Research Organisation: Bangor University
Department Name: Sch of Music & Media

Abstract

Facemasks are a crucial part of UK strategy to contain and mitigate transmission of COVID-19. While disposable facemasks present a convenient, low-cost solution, they carry greater associated environmental costs than reusable masks which are less likely to be discarded but require higher financial outlay. Although clearly central, the influence of media messaging - positive or negative - in determining people's mask-wearing choices is unknown, despite the considerable medical and environmental implications. This project will explore the complex factors underpinning consumer choice of masks and the adoption or rejection of facemask wearing, including responsible disposal of masks, by using multi-disciplinary methods to evaluate constructive and destructive messaging around (a) mask-wearing and motivation, and (b) sustainable choices within the facemask wearing arena. There are three components:
1. Assessing the influence and effectiveness of media messaging around the wearing of facemasks to date.
2. Examining the ways in which more effective media messaging can be developed to respond to rising rates of infection as well as potential long-term facemask use in the post-Covid era.
3. Examining how the wearing of facemasks can be encouraged in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner to prevent short, medium and long-term collateral environmental harm, in alignment with the UK's obligations under international human rights and environmental laws.
The overarching aim of this twelve-month project is, then, to better understand current facemask wearing behaviour as influenced by the media to improve uptake and enhance the effectiveness of media campaigns for the future, specifically considering environmental issues.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description DEFRA consultation on proposals to ban commonly littered single-use plastic items in England and call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Contributions to the DEFRA consultation on proposals to ban commonly littered single-use plastic items in England and to the DEFRA call for evidence on commonly littered and problematic plastic items.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Mask wearing wasn't disputed in previous crises - so why is it so hotly contested today? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact An article for TheConversation.com reaching over 39,000 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://theconversation.com/mask-wearing-wasnt-disputed-in-previous-crises-so-why-is-it-so-hotly-con...
 
Description Will mask wearing still be common in Britain after the pandemic is over? 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact An article for TheConversation.com reaching over 15,000 people.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://theconversation.com/will-mask-wearing-still-be-common-in-britain-after-the-pandemic-is-over-...