As I speak in September 2020, face masks are a requirement in most public places. This means covering your nose and mouth when you’re indoors, where you can’t shield or distance yourself from people you don’t live with.
So face masks, made of fabric materials, and face shields made of clear plastic are the most commonly used things at the minute.
There are some issues we need to consider when using face masks, and we should be conscious of them when making careful decisions. So let’s take a look at these issues.
The only problem we face with this situation environmentally is wastage. Currently, as more people buy, wear and dispose of medical grade face masks, we throw away fabrics containing plastic in the fabric, and metal at the top of the face mask. This is a very big issue as it is contributing to the amount of plastic we are finding in waste.
As the years go on, we need to be more conscious of how we’re dealing with plastics. This environmentally-unfriendly fabric is the worst invention to make disposable. I have personally seen a lot of these light blue face masks scattered across the streets everywhere I go, and it’s a pretty disgusting sight to see. I know that they won’t go away for many years as they aren’t biodegradable, or eco friendly as a result.
On the other hand, face shields that are also made of plastic, are much easier to reuse. As a solid plastic sheet, they can be sprayed down and reworn without the risk of holding on to bacteria or viruses. This makes this creation cheap yet effective to use.
Opt for Breath-ability/Re-usability
If we’re going to make more sensible choices, then picking a fabric that can be washed and reused again is a responsible choice. Being able to wash and reuse it means we are creating less waste, since we don’t have to throw these masks away.
For fabrics, I would choose something natural like cottons or linen. They are great for your face because it lets everything breathe, from your nose to your skin.
When I was working 10 hour days with the plastic masks, I found myself getting hot in them. Not only that, but I was getting a lot of break outs and spots because it didn’t let my skin breathe.
Then I bought a simple organic cotton mask online, and once I used it my face instantly started improving. I didn’t overheat so much, and best of all I could rewash and reuse the masks again and again.
Find Longer Elastic
This one is a little on a tangent. Though it’s not about eco consciousness, its important that you pick one with enough stretch to your ears. If its too small, you’ll find it making the back of your ears sore, and pulling at your skin.
This can be very uncomfortable, and cause you to eventually dispose of your mask, which would then be a waste. So make sure that you pick a face mask the fits comfortably without irritation.
Make Your Own Mask
If you’re creative and want to save even more on a mask, why not make your own? There are plenty of templates cropping up online, showing you how to make them. If you have scraps of cloth that have no use, you could put it toward a mask.
This could make better use of a piece of fabric that might end up in the bin otherwise. It’s a great way to re-purpose something that no longer serves in its current form, and turn it into something very handy.
What ever it is you do to stay safe in public, have a think again about the impact of something as small as a face mask. With millions of us using this on a daily basis, we need to understand that all of our actions together can go toward positive affects just as much as it can negatively. We can get through this tough time and think smarter in the little things.