Rated 4 of 5.
Level of importance:
Rated 5 of 5.
Level of validity:
Rated 3 of 5.
Level of completeness:
Rated 4 of 5.
Level of comprehensibility:
Rated 3 of 5.
|Keywords:||PPE, Environmental policy and practice, Systems modelling, Sustainability, Incineration, Pre-symptomatic, Surgical mask, N95 respirator, MFA, LCA|
General comments. This is a relevant and timely paper on the issue of face coverings used as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The paper is well-researched, contains interesting perspectives and discussions, and provides important insights on the topic. A key strength of the paper is the collaboration between researchers of different disciplines, but this is also the cause of a related weakness: the article reads like it was written by different authors and does not flow as well as it could. My main recommendation therefore is that article is revised so that the content is more cohesive and the ‘story’ flows better. Further comments are given below, and there are additional mark-ups on the attached file.
Abstract. The abstract contains interesting information, but I’d recommend including more of the numerical results from the analysis, so that the abstract is better related to the findings of the paper. The journal guidelines state that abstracts should be up to 250 words. As it stands, the abstract is just over 300 words, so please reduce the word count in line with the journal guidelines. I’d also recommend writing the abstract as a paragraph rather than as a series of bullet points.
Paper structure and overall content. If section numbers are to be used, then the introduction should be section 1. I’d suggest revising the balance of material in the paper, and/or revisiting the paper title and aims. The paper title and aims are concerned with the environmental impact (is dangers the right word?) of face masks. However less than 3 pages of the main paper directly cover this topic, which isn’t discussed in any detail until page 5. The other content is interesting, but it does not relate directly to the stated aims and title. Also there is some repetition throughout the paper, for example, much of section 5 is already presented earlier in the paper. Please condense the material so as to avoid repetition as far as possible.
Methods. I don't think it's been clearly stated in the main text what the functional unit is for the LCA study (or that FU is an abbreviation of functional unit). Please make sure that the FU is clearly stated in the main text as well as in the appendix so that the reader can properly interpret the results in the main paper. The main text also does not state which impacts are being assessed. Please include this information in the main paper as well as in the appendix (at a minimum please refer to the relevant section of the appendix).
Conclusions. It would be good to include the results of the LCA in the conclusions section, as the paper is concerned with environmental impacts. It would also be useful to relate the conclusions more strongly to the title and the aims of the paper - or to amend the title and aims of the paper? As it stands, there is a disconnect between the paper title and stated aims, and the conclusions.
Appendix. The appendix outlining the LCA work is thorough, well written and clearly presented. However, please make sure that the assumptions used in the analysis match the text in the main paper; there is, for example, some confusion over the washing temperature as different values are given in the conclusions section of the main paper and in the appendix.