How Reusable Face Masks can be more Sustainable than Disposable OnesBecause of the pandemic of coronavirus, face masks are now an enormous demand. Seamstresses, tailors, and anyone who could sew take their machines for reusable cloth masks when they lack disposable masks throughout the planet.
The Google search numbers for DIY masks have increased by 85% since mid-March. While not officially classified as medical equipment, they can not help protect against the spread of Covid-19. They can nevertheless serve. The CDC recommends its use to slow the spread of the virus and prevent people who may unknowingly transmit the virus to other people.
How Can Reusable Face Masks Be More Sustainable Than Disposable Ones?
1. It can be made free at home: disposable masks are today like gold dust with worldwide shortages. Masks for reusable faces can be constructed from hallmarks or ordinary clothing at a minimal cost. A study of Smart Air Filters homemade face masks found the best results in reusable breathing and filtration options for 100% Cotton bedsheets (80-120 thread), denim (10 oz), and canvas (0,4-0.5 mm thick). These materials were tested to capture up to 50% of 0.3-micron particles, and it was observed that human coronaviruses are from 0.1 to 0.2 micron. They are also as easy to breathe as surgical masks, which allow them to wear for several hours. The filtering of 14 percent of 0.3 microns, and 76 percent of 1.0 micron, were also relatively well done by bra pads.
2. Reusable masks can also be purchased: NEO masks may be another option when you don’t sew, or you want something a bit more specialized. Made of high-density micro-fiber, NEO masks require only 100 degrees centigrade boiling for sanitization (1/1,000th human hair thickness!). They are also particularly environmentally friendly and dope colored, which results in excellent color stability so that the yarns are tinted before making a piece of textile. No water is used during the dope testing process, and chemicals, carbon, and low energy production are reduced, making a win-win for both the environment and you!
3. They are not contributing to litter pollution: whether or not they believe it, disposable face masks are a global litter hazard. We see daily grocery workers’ reports criticizing ‘disgraceful’ shoppers for wearing used masks, gloves, and wipes in shopping car parks and trolleys.
Removed facial masks are stored at the beaches and nature trails of Hong Kong and pose a great threat to sea life, mistaken for food. The UK charitable company Keep Britain Tidy reports that the amount of PPE equipment dumped on the streets has risen dramatically, rather than placed in a bin.
4. These are not a danger to health: discarded masks present another major problem; they may carry the virus and pass the virus on to other individuals who can come into contact with it. Food workers are forced to collect potentially contaminated masks and gloves. Reusable tissue masks can be washed and worn again to dumped, much less like reusable tissue masks.
5. They are not made of plastic: plastic does not biodegrade anything; rather, it breaks over time into smaller pieces called microplastics. As these microplastics enter our waters, they act as toxic sponges and accumulate chemicals in the water at an incredible rate (such as pesticides and PCBs). Studies show that when fish and aquatic life consume these micro-plastic products, the food chain is transferred to larger fisheries and wildlife. In 114 aquatic species, scientists have found microplastics and are now trying to figure out what this means for human health.
Typically, disposable handkerchiefs, masks, and wipes are made of plastics. “The PPEs are to protect us against a healthcare crisis, not cause the plastic pollution crisis,” said Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens’ Environmental Campaign. Some of the masks can also include other materials, like metal, which can also pose a risk to fish and aquatic life.
Natural fiber, such as reusable masks, is usually biologically degradable and thus less environmentally harmful. Even if they are discarded after a period of time, the plastic has no devastating effect.
Tips for getting the most out of reusable face masks
1. Boil the mask for 10 minutes: the current washing advice is 10 minutes before boiling masks. During this period, all the mask layers are disinfected maximally (WHO 2015). However, only regular machine washing is recommended by the CDC.
2. Double the levels: the doubling of cloth mask material layers gives little effect to filtration, but it can make the mask much harder to breathe through. Breathing is just as important as filtration, as the mask is not worn for long when it is not breathable.
3. Wash your hands often: the main advice to avoid the virus is to wash the hand using alcohol-based hand gel or heated water and soap, covering your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
4. Make your own mask: free patterns are available throughout the internet, with different materials, filters, dimensions, and designs. Do your own research to find one with which you are glad.
5. Please note that no homemade mask can guarantee your coronavirus is not infected. Still, trials have shown that any protection of your face can reduce your exposure to viruses compared to nothing.