In this article you can find all the info you need to not only look stylish but also act eco-consciously when wearing a reusable face mask.
It’s the oldest tale in the book. Someone starts sneezing in your household, at your weekly hobby gathering or at the office and before you know it you’re reaching for the handkerchiefs too.
That’s what viruses do. They spread, well, like a virus.
A little droplet of saliva is enough to carry the virus onto the next person make that unsuspected person sick.
That’s why during a pandemic, or with the outbreak of a new disease like the coronavirus covid-19 in 2020, there are a few precautions and safety measures you can take.
First of all, you need to wash your hands regularly and
use hand sanitizer in between.
Aside from that, the
World Health Organization now also advises to wear a face mask.
Disposable, medical-grade face masks come with a number of negative issues.
First of all, medical grade face masks are meant to be used in a medical environment.
Doctors, nurses and other health care professionals use them when they might come into close contact with someone who’s potentially infected with a disease that can be transferred through the air.
In public settings the
CDC supports the use of cloth face coverings.
As the CDC states: “those [surgical masks] are critical supplies that should continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders”.
Washable and therefore reusable fabric face masks are a good alternative for regular public settings.
Second of all, since these medical masks are disposable face masks, they raise a new environmental issue.
A plastic lined,
petroleum-based face mask is no better than a plastic cup or bag floating in the ocean. It’ll take years or even centuries to break these masks down.
Of course surgical-grade face masks are vital in certain circumstances and without a safe alternative in these situations they can’t be swapped for anything else.
As an alternative in public areas, however, the WHO recommends fabric face masks.
They are reusable, meaning less waste will end up on landfills and they are less likely to pollute our oceans.
What are sustainable options for fabric face masks?
Now that face masks seem to be here to stay for a little while longer, choosing a fashionable addition for your wardrobe might be your first concern.
And you’re in luck. Because wearing a reusable fabric face mask is already the most sustainable choice.
Now that scientists are backing up their usefulness, fabric
face masks have become a business on their own.
With eco-conscious fashion booming you can even go one step further.
Since green, clean or sustainable clothing are all such broad terms, here are my
criteria for looking for sustainable face masks online: The masks are not only reusable, but also made from sustainable fabrics. The brand sees the bigger picture. For example, they also think about making eco-conscious decisions in their manufacturing process. The brand gives back to the community. Either by creating jobs or donating PPE masks to those who need them most.
Here are my favorite brands that I found that take sustainable face masks to the next level.
Best price/quality option.
With good pricing and rave reviews, this simple organic cotton face mask is a winner. One reviewer said: "These masks were so comfortable to wear - I work [in] retail and wear it for 9 hours. Love that it doesn’t go around my ears."
All face masks are made by Blacksmith USA, a cut and sew factory in Salt Lake City, Utah. The factory uses donated fabrics. This makes every face mask unique in color and design.
Coalatree also gives back by donating a face mask for each face mask purchased.
Photo Credit: www.wearthlondon.com Best choice if you live in the UK or Europe.
Instead of polluting the ocean, these sustainable face masks are made from fabric that's fabricated from actual recycled ocean plastic!
The internal pocket in each face mask fits a PM 2.5 disposable protection filter, and your order even comes with 5 filters included. So you don't have to worry about sourcing those separately.
And better still, for every mask you purchase Wearthlondon donates two medical grade PPE masks to a UK hospital or care home in need. A great way to also give back to the community!
They also offer free shipping for UK residents, so if you're from the United Kingdom this is your chance to shop locally. On top of that they're made ethically in Europe.
Photo Credit: christydawn.com Best choice for a comfortable fit.
As wearing a face mask on a regular, sometimes even day-to-day, basis has become the 'new normal' there's also a lot more thought and research that goes into which fabrics work best.
Silk is now said to be one of the best fabric choices for a breathable face mask.
These silk fabric face masks from Christy Dawn use tie staps instead of elastics, meaning you can adjust them to fit your face. And there are no elastics pulling or cutting into the back of your ears.
The cloth masks are made with deadstock fabric. This means they use leftover cuttings and scraps from making other garments. This way less waste ends up in landfills!
Another bonus is that you can choice between a variety of fashionable colors.
Photo Credit: arraeicollective.com Best choice for zero waste supporters.
Zero Waste Advocacy Brand Arraeicollective sells face masks that are either made with hemp or lyocell fabric, both eco-friendly textile choices.
They also donate one mask for each order to local organisations and charities.
Photo Credit: www.madetrade.com Best choice if you prefer an adjustable fit.
Made Trade is a Fair Trade and Sustainable Marketplace that also sells recycled hemp and organic cotton face masks. All of their face masks are handmade in Portland, Oregon.
Made Trade’s non-medical grade masks adhere to the CDC’s recommendations for fabric face coverings. The form-fitting, expandable pleats give a wide amount of coverage. And the design includes an interior pocket for a filter.
Photo Credit: www.belkazan.com Best choice for fashion forward options.
Bel Kazan sells face masks made by upcycling scrap pieces of fabric, which gives each face mask its own unique pattern.
All proceeds go directly to the people making the masks in Bali, who are sewing these fabric face masks from their own homes since the factory has closed due to covid-19 regulations.
Best choice for the workplace.
When you purchase your reusable face mask from TenTree you immediately get 3 fabric face cloths for, let's face it, the price of one.
These 3 face masks look complementary and stylish and are a great choice if you want to look great at the office.
If your workplace requires you to wear a face mask for long periods of time, this pack is for you. Keep the other two safe and secure in a separate bag and use these to swap the one your wearing after a few hours of sweating.