Cover your face sustainably with these environmentally-friendly (not to mention snazzy) reusable face masks from conscious brands we rate.
A new report by Systemiq and the PEW Charitable Trusts shows plastic flows into the ocean are expected to triple by 2040. And since the outbreak of COVID-19 and mandatory face masks, the amount of single-use items (or ‘Covid-waste’) is a new kind of pollution adding to the plastic problem. While an increase in PPE waste in hospitals is sadly unavoidable (but devastatingly, this FT report identifies that until the 1980s most medical PPE was reusable. Single-use, disposable products only came into circulation once their money-making potential was realised. WTF!). But us regular folk don’t need to rely on single-use face masks. So why are we?
The WHO anticipates that PPE use will surge by 40% over the course of the pandemic. But where is this additional waste ending up? (Our guess is oceans and landfills.) And what can we do as consumers to ensure we’re not adding to the waste? The simple answer is to invest in a few sustainable, reusable masks. It ain’t rocket science!
Here are 10 conscious brands doing their part to reduce global waste thanks to their eco-friendly face coverings.
Bamboo Straw Girl
We’re longtime fans of this local Singaporean brand (its founder, Melissa Lam, is also a 2019 Green Warrior). Its range of 100% cotton reusable masks have adjustable cloth ties to go around the ears and sell individually for $7.50 (or five for $36). The child masks are created from offcut batik print fabrics and support a fairtrade seaside community of seamstresses through a second stream of income. The best part? 100% of profits from mask sales goes directly to Migrants We Care. A charity set up to benefit the migrant worker community that has been hit hard by COVID-19.
If you’re looking for breathable masks in awesome prints that’ll make your face stand out from the crowd, FaceWedge is worth a shop. Its masks come in a variety of sizes (from kids small to adults XL) meaning you can banish that annoying earache from too-tight earloops for good. Plus, for every five masks sold, FaceWedge pulls a kilo of plastic from our oceans thanks to its brilliant partnership with Seven Clean Seas. And so far, just over 800kg of plastic has been removed from our oceans; result!
Local Singaporean designer Sabrina Goh has created a mask range in her signature aesthetic. In particular, check out the origami masks for a unique design twist. The range continues to evolve with each new batch, with the most recent iteration using sustainable fabrics like Tencel and SOLOTEX.
Masks For Music
The Bye Bye Plastic Foundation has joined forces with Masks For Music to create sustainable face masks that also benefits the music industry devastated by the pandemic. Each double-layer mask is woven using eco-cotton and is handmade ethically under fair trade conditions. What’s more, the team has also implemented a carbon-offsetting system and packaging is entirely plastic-free. Importantly, Masks For Music is not in operation to turn a profit. All proceeds from the masks go towards assisting musical artists, organisations, industry professionals, and venues weather the COVID storm.
This super chic range comes in myriad fabrics and colours (and it even sells chains to pimp your mask) that the fashion-forward will love. But for us, it’s all about the limited edition biodiversity mask. The eco-themed print on eco-friendly linen fabric is handmade by local tailors. Plus, a portion of proceeds from this mask goes towards the Environmental Defense Fund that helps address today’s most urgent environmental challenges.
OliveAnkara’s bold African signature prints translate beautifully from its epic clothing line to its all-new face mask collection. All masks are created by upcycling Ankara fabric cutoffs from the brand’s main clothing collections. Plus, 10% of revenue goes towards local charities helping migrant workers and people in need.
Creating environmentally, ethically, and socially conscious style for a sustainable future, this womenswear fashion label has long been bookmarked in our browser. And recently face masks have made the cut in its sartorial repertoire. Utilising offcut fabrics, the premium face masks are sustainably and ethically made by family-run factories in Portugal. Once you no longer need your mask, simply return it and Baukjen will sustainably recycle it for you. Well, thank you very much.
This super cool sustainable activewear label has teamed up with PADI to create a range of face masks made from reclaimed plastic ocean waste. Available in assorted sizes, shapes, and colours, each one is designed for maximum breathability and comfort. And if you just can’t get down with wearing a mask, check out its eco-friendly neck buffs with filters instead.
This NYC based brand has taken face masks to the next level. These ain’t just run of the mill face coverings, consider these facial accessories that have graced the pages of Vogue. Be quick and get your pre-order in now, because this small female-owned business has a cult following on IG with each batch selling out faster than you can say Coronavirus. Each mask is created by master tailors in its NYC studio using the cleanest, most natural fibres it can find.
This relatively new marketplace style website features over 200 independent UK brands that make eco-friendly and ethical products. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop to help you live more consciously, this is it. And naturally, the selection of face masks is worth a look. You’ll find a variety of brands with masks made from everything from sustainable bamboo and hemp to plastic ocean waste.
United By Blue
United By Blue is a certified B Corp casual wear label based in the US. And for every product purchased it removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways. And since its inception, it has removed over 3,410,161 pounds of garbage. Impressive stuff. Aside from its excellent range of dog bandanas, we also rate its range of salvaged hemp face masks. Plus, for every three-pack purchased, it donates one mask to Chosen 300; a charity benefitting Philadelphia residents experiencing homelessness.
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