It’s been slightly over a year since we started dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. One major thing we have all had to adjust to is wearing face masks every time we leave the house. Some people even wear more than one face mask daily. The problem is, they are not good for the environment.
Like other plastic wastes, disposable masks can end up in the environment, freshwater systems, and oceans, where weathering can generate a large number of micro-sized particles during a relatively short period and further fragment into nanoplastics. Disposable masks may also accumulate and release harmful chemical and biological substances, heavy metals, as well as pathogenic micro-organisms. These may pose indirect adverse impacts on plants, animals, and humans.
What, then, is the solution? We can’t stop wearing face masks, but we can change the way in which we use them, by upcycling them instead of disposing of them immediately. Here are 5 ways to upcycle your masks:
1. Use the straps as hair ties
A lot of us are constantly losing our scrunchies and/or hair ties. They fall off or just keep getting lost, and we just keep on buying more. You can use the straps of your face mask as a hair tie. Simply tie the two ends together tightly, and there you have it. It literally takes a few minutes. In doing so you’ll be reducing the chances of a bird getting its feet tangled up in your face mask.
2. Reuse the metallic piece for your clothes mask
You know the metallic nose piece that fastens your face mask onto your nose? It’s harmful to the environment too. The solution? Use the metallic piece to fasten your clothes masks. Simply cut off a small section of your clothes mask, insert the nose piece in place and sew it back together.
3. Make a shopping bag
Buying shopping masks is tiring and most times irritating. It is one cost that you can easily avoid. Using your face mask to make a shopping bag is one way in which you can do this. Make a simple grocery bag by piecing together several face masks. If the bag is to be used for heavy groceries, it is advisable to have a second set of stitches for reinforcement.
You will need 15-20 face masks for this process. Masks are made from nonwoven polypropylene. This is the fabric used for your shopping bags from many stores.
4. Make plant or flower pot covers
Another creative way to upcycle your face mask is to make plant or flower pot covers. These will look pretty and definitely do the job. Pieces of used face masks can be cut and stitched together to make flower pot covers. To spruce it up, add some embellishments or embroidery designs.
5. Make a purse or drawstring bag
Rather than purchasing one, you can make a drawstring bag from a face mask. You can stitch a small drawstring bag using one face mask. Your hand-stitched bag will be a conversation piece among eco-warriors.
I am a passionate 22 year-old writer. I consider myself a young free-spirited soul whose personality is a mixture of introversion and extroversion. I’m a strong believer in the law of attraction. Everything is a reflection.