What to do with my used face mask?

Walking around in our city, we’re already used to see some garbage on the ground, e.g. cigarette butts, lost packages of paper tissues and discarded bags from some fast food meals. But recently, there’s a new addition: single-use face masks.

Like in many other places, wearing face masks is now highly recommended if not mandatory. For example, here in Germany you have to wear one if you want to enter shops or use public transport. Once you get out again, you can take it off … but then what? Sadly, it seems that more than a few people just throw them to the ground, or lose them –if you want to give them the benefit of the doubt– and there are more and more of those single-use face masks and gloves lying around on the streets.

disposable facemask waste disposable glove waste

Kind of ironic, isn’t it? If we remember the panic not too long ago, when it was nearly impossible getting such masks anywhere, and still today there is a shortage of face coverings in some places.

However, there’s a clear way as to how they need to be discarded: dispose of them in a waste bin or, if none is in sight, it’s better to collect them in e.g. a ziplock bag, take them home and discard them there with your household waste – where we live, the non-recyclable waste is taken to a garbage incineration plant. Since your mask might be contaminated with the you-know-which-virus, it’s best to incinerate them in terms of hygiene and protection of contamination.

That being said, there’s an even better way: don’t use single-use face masks! Reusable face masks are much more eco-friendly and you can make them yourself out of scraps from cotton fabrics (like T-shirts or bandanas) and wash them at 60°C, hang them to dry and – voilá – they are ready for your next shopping tour.

You don’t have a sewing machine and they are currently sold out? (True story, that happened to a friend!) Here are some great guides on how to make them:

1. Bandana Face Covering (no sew method)

Bandana Face Covering (no sew method)
Image by CDC

2. T-Shirt Face Covering (no sew method)

T-Shirt Face Covering (no sew method)
Image by CDC

3. T-Shirt Facemask (no sew)

T-Shirt Face Covering (no sew method)
Image by #Masks4All

4. Sewn Cloth Face Covering

Sewn Cloth Face Covering
Image by CDC

What’s your favourite pattern for a face mask?

If you have the perfect method that doesn’t cause your glasses to get fogged while wearing the facemask – please let us know! 🙂

Let’s protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19 and avoid creating a new garbage crisis! Share this article with you friends and help us raise awareness of this new problem – thanks for reading & may you all stay healthy!

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