Why Reusable Masks are Better than Disposable
The increase of PPE worldwide is contributing to an already serious global waste issue. With disposable masks littering seabeds and plastic gloves found disposed on our streets, it’s important that we all take personal responsibility for sourcing eco-friendly protective wear.
If every person in the UK wore a reusable face mask for a year, the impact on climate change would be ten times less than if the public opted for a disposable. It is expected that 75% of used disposable PPE will end up in landfills or floating in the seas after the Covid19 pandemic. On top of that, plastic production is energy intensive, meaning that a lot of energy goes into creating it.
As mask wear has become a part of daily life, many of us are starting to look for eco-friendly alternatives. Reusable masks have become a responsible way to help the climate crisis, whilst still protecting the vulnerable in our society. Many of them are made from natural fibres like cotton or silk, which means they biodegrade faster in landfills (cotton biodegrades in around five months, whereas plastic could take 500 years or more). They also tend to more cost effective, with most reusable masks lasting around a month when washed between uses.
Reusable masks are also more effective against the coronavirus. When buying a reusable mask, make sure to look for multiple layers. The more material there is, and the tighter these are pressed together, the harder it is for a contaminant to pass through. Maskari’s reusable mask contains three tightly pressed layers, including a middle layer containing antimicrobial agents, which has tested as 99.99% effective against SARS-COV-2. Disposable masks tend to be flimsy, with only one layer and do not remain protective after a single use, meaning they have to be replaced every day.
Disposable masks are, fundamentally, designed to be thrown away. From an environmental perspective, they are similar to plastic shopping bags or cups, which many food and online stores are now taking the steps to reduce. In the same way that we should opt for a reusable shopping bag or coffee cup, our response to the pandemic should take into account the same environmental concerns. And as society moves more towards mask wear - a trend that looks set to continue for now - it is important that we are not only looking after people, but also protecting our planet.