Although wearing a face mask in public is the responsible decision during a global pandemic, let's not allow the need for such a precaution to overshadow our eco-conscious judgments when deciding what type of non-medical covering to buy. As discarded single-use face masks pile up on beaches and nature trails, the environmental threat posed by these COVID-19 essentials is a fast-growing concern. Luckily, there are sustainable-style alternatives to help curb the impact of this issue — and if your current face covering (fashion-forward or otherwise) is washable and reusable, then you're already on the right track.
Things like breathability and personal expression matter when picking out a mask that's best suited to our particular lifestyles (and faces) — but it's also important to consider how a mask is made, what materials it's crafted from, and, ultimately, what impact that has on the environment. By paying attention to the fabrics and production methods used to create these masks, we can make more eco-friendly choices when it comes to protecting ourselves, others, and the planet. A handful of top sustainable-retailer favorites (like Nisolo and Collina Strada) are already a step ahead of us; offering durable options made from up-cycled materials, deadstock fabrics, and/or natural fibers that are designed to last longer. Even a quick Etsy search will direct you towards an impressive selection of handmade face masks from smaller vendors — which translates to less energy and resources wasted.
We've rounded up 13 such sustainable styles ahead that are ready to get the germ-shielding job done — without harming the planet in the process.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. The product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.