After the UK Government’s most recent announcement, it seems like our days of wearing face masks are far from over. Even with the vaccine beginning to rolling out across the country, the government’s Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance still believes that masks will continue to be compulsory till the end of 2021 in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
With single-use face masks becoming a daily sight on the streets, a recent report by University College of London’s Plastic Waste Innovation Hub has shown that “if every person in the UK used one single-use mask each day for a year, that would create 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste”. The plastic waste created by disposable surgical masks is hard to recycle and has recently either ended up in landfill or polluting the oceans and in turn, becoming harmful to our wildlife. This is a huge concern around the world and the best way for individuals to help combat this issue would be to invest in reusable masks for daily use.
“But how do I know which reusable masks are the best?” –
Good question! Today, there are a number of reusable fabric masks available on the high street, with many retailers, big and small, addressing the demand in any way they can.
The vast selection makes shopping for a reusable mask a confusing task and can leave many of us unsure of what to look for to keep us well protected.
There are a number of personal aspects that you should consider when purchasing a face covering, such as comfort, breathability and overall fit. However, regardless of your personal preferences, there are a number of other attributes that should be considered whilst purchasing a mask. The following list highlights three important features for everyone to keep in mind to ensure the highest level of safety for everyone.
1. Look for CE certification – If your mask is CE certified, it means that it has been recognised by the EEA legislation as a safe and secure mask to protect you and the people around you from spreading bacteria around. These masks will be considered the most protective as all Class I PPE equipment used in hospitals across the region has been certified by this regulatory board. Masks with this recognition will have a CE stamp on their packages, so keep an eye out for that!
Our pick: SmartCover – the mask offered by SmartCover has been certified by a number of reputable sources including CE, Intertek; the masks are also dirt, water and UV resistant. £13.50
2. Don’t buy a mask with valves – Although masks with valves offer more breathability and do technically protect you against breathing in contaminated particles, the mask doesn’t filter air particles that leave your mask which leaves others around you vulnerable to any germs you may be carrying. Right now, we all need to work together and in order to protect others as well as yourself, choose a mask without a valve!
Our pick: Pacamask – these breathable masks don’t have valves and provide antibacterial protection against infection. £17.95
3. Make sure the mask has at least 3 layers – It is important to ensure that for maximum effectiveness, the mask is made of at least 3 layers of fabric. Anything less than that will not be helpful against the transmission of particles and leaves you as well as those around you at a higher risk of infection.
Our pick: Uniqlo – the triple-layer mask takes inspiration from the Japanese aesthetic of the Uniqlo brand and have great bacterial and particle filtration systems. £9.90 for 3