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.