Self

4 Ways To Make Wearing A Face Mask More Sustainable

Protect yourself, those around you, and the planet.

kate_sept2004/E+/Getty Images

Wearing a face mask is just about as normal as wearing trousers at this point. Since lockdown restrictions eased in the UK, face coverings have become a part of the new normal and masks are a legal requirement in shops and on public transport in the UK. Although the info around masks at the start of the pandemic was a bit sketchy, now it’s been made crystal clear that face masks can help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

While most people's face masks aren’t classified as PPE and you can use religious clothing or a scarf as a face covering, they do still help in preventing the spread COVID-19. The government regulations say: “Face coverings are instead largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection.”

So while this is going to become a part of our lives, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about how to make your mask-wearing as sustainable as possible.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

1
Make Or Buy Reusable Masks & Look For Sustainable Fabrics
Viktorcvetkovic/E+/Getty Images

If you can, buy a reusable mask, or if you’re nifty with a sewing machine, why not make your own mask? Good sustainable fabrics to look for whether making or buying are organic cotton, linen. And if you are making, better yet use some second-hand fabrics like an old T-shirt or even socks. A good mask is all about multiple layers and a good a fit around your face. So if you're buying one, make sure you get the right size (or one with adjustable straps).

2
Buy Biodegradable

Single-use masks aren’t recyclable, and because they may be infectious after use it’s even more important to dispose of them in a bin. While there aren’t any single-use biodegradable masks on the market yet, companies like Tabitha Eve make biodegradable face coverings which you can also pop in the wash and reuse.

3
Don’t Forget To Cut The Straps

If you're going to use single-use masks, it’s really crucial to dispose of them properly. Unfortunately, some wildlife like seagulls and other birds are getting caught in the straps of disposable masks. So make sure you’re cutting the straps before you bin your masks.

4
Buy Reusable Face Masks That Benefit Charities

If you can, why not buy your masks and face-coverings from an eco-friendly charity? The WWF is selling completely sustainable panda-print face masks for £9.99. The British Fashion Council has also partnered with manufacturers Bags of Fashion to create a reusable and sustainable face mask whose profits will be split between NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, BFC Foundation Fashion Fund, and Wings of Hope Children’s Charity.