(Image: Private Media)

Sustainability has been the mantra of the times, with consumers turning to ethical fashion, reusable food packaging and green energy to do their part to tackle climate change. 

But the pandemic has thrown much of those efforts into disarray. Not only has online spending on fashion, beauty and household goods soared, but the construction boom is generating tens of millions of tonnes of masonry debris, and safety measures -- from plastic-laden face masks to disposable coffee cups -- have fuelled Australia’s rubbish crisis.  

In this three-part series, Crikey will explore how the pandemic has created an explosion of rubbish -- and what we can do about it.