Thinking Sustainability: Why use Reusable Masks During a Pandemic

I learned back in 2016 that our consumption of single use plastics was creating a massive waste problem, one so big that by 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This statistic always stuck out to me, how could we as a human race be using THAT much stuff, and creating THAT much waste that our straws and cups outnumbered the aquatic life?!

Photo by Cristian Palmer on Unsplash

If you recycle at home, you’ve probably seen how it can add up every week before the recycling gets taken out: soda cans, plastic fruit cartons, milk jugs, beer cans, coffee containers, they all contribute to this single use addiction we have in America and across the globe. I find it challenging to walk out of a traditional grocery store without a massive pile of single-use plastics, metals, and glass. 

Now that the coronavirus has hit the US, many of us are protecting ourselves with masks. I believe wearing a mask is great to limit the spread of germs, and protect not only yourself, but the vulnerable high-risk population among us. Trouble is, many of the masks folks are buying are disposable, meant for single-use. When these get put in the garbage, they don’t exactly get thrown “away”. There is no “away”. They get thrown somewhere, into a landfill, and in some cases, into the ocean. 

A few weeks ago, The Guardian reported that single-use plastic masks were showing up on beaches and in oceans worldwide, from the Côte d’Azur in France to the Soko Islands of Hong Kong. Reading the article reminded me that as consumers, we have to be vigilant about what we consume. Is this purchase going to contribute to a landfill in the short-term? Will I get multiple uses out of it to justify the environmental cost?

At Sorrelli, we started making black cotton masks back in April 2020 as a response to COVID-19, I liked how the simple design went with every outfit, and friends commented on how chic they are & started buying them up. I not only like how it looks with my summer outfits, but also that it can be re-used and washed. My personal landfill contribution is avoided every time I put it on. 


Now, we are embellishing these black cotton masks with a little bit of sparkle. The last few months have been a dark time, filled with a lot of fear, anxiety, financial uncertainty and health concerns. We hope our embellishments add a little bit of life to an odd new routine. And we hope you choose to protect yourself responsibly, with the environment in mind! All of our choices matter, at least, that’s what I believe. 


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