Hemp Face Masks – A Sustainable Solution to COVID-19 Masks?
The COVID-19 pandemic brought along with it a host of problems worldwide, and one of the biggest issues was its toll on the environment because of disposable face masks.
Whether we like it or not, believe in it or not, wearing face masks was one of the first urgent mandates globally to help curb transmission of the virus. These simple coverings, previously only used in medical settings, helped restrict the travel distance of contagious droplets that spread the virus. But because of its disposable nature, people were littering and disposing their face masks left and right, most times incorrectly.
Scientists from MIT estimate that the pandemic will contribute some 7,200 tons of medical waste each and every day, and most of those are made up of disposable face masks. There is the possibility of health care workers decontaminating face masks that can be reused, such as the N95 models, which would reduce environmental waste by 75%. And even if the pandemic is already almost over in many parts of the globe, health care workers still need to consume a large supply of them.
Sure, people have already developed many kinds of fashionable, reusable face masks. They may be stylish, but are they biodegradable?
Enter Hemp Face Masks
Hemp is one of the most environmentally-friendly fabrics in the world today.
It’s nothing new: hemp fabric was used in China during ancient times, and it eventually spread around the globe to be used by early civilizations. Archaeologists discovered remains of hemp cloth dating back to 8000 BC in Iraq too, and in 2700 BC, Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor, taught his people how to cultivate the industrial hemp (cannabis) in order to make clothes out of it.
Hemp has been used since antiquity to make not just clothes but a variety of other textiles, sacks, canvas, ropes, and more. Even back then, the durability of hemp was unrivalled, and it also has the benefits of being sustainable and biodegradable. Producing hemp is also far more environmentally friendly compared to cotton or other types of materials, especially if it’s grown organically.
Here are the other benefits of using hemp face masks:
Breathable: Hemp is naturally thermoregulating, which means that people who wear hemp fabrics can enjoy more airflow. It’s breathable even during the summer, while allowing your skin to regulate itself and have good airflow even in the winter. Wearing a face mask that’s hard to breathe in would simply defeat the purpose – it wouldn’t be comfortable enough to wear.
Anti-microbial: Hemp is naturally anti-microbial because it restricts the growth of odor-causing bacteria. On the other hand, other types of materials don’t possess these same properties unless they have been manufactured with chemicals or other toxic ingredients that you don’t want on your face. In addition, researchers have discovered that hemp is also naturally antibacterial and can protect from MRSA bacteria.
UV-resistant: Unlike disposable masks, hemp fabrics are resistant to UV rays. This means that wearing hemp face masks can protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, providing an extra layer of protection from your skin.
So why aren’t more people wearing hemp face masks?
We’ve discovered that there are some excellent products out there that you might want to check out:
Delilah Home 100% Hemp Face Masks: Delilah Home’s European-made hemp face masks are made from 100% hemp, with a 180 gram thread count that is around 50% thicker than other masks. It’s thick and durable. Best of all, it has a certification from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), so you can have peace of mind that the manufacturer didn’t use any bleaches or chemical dyes to make it.
Earth Hero Reusable Hemp Face Mask: This ultra-soft face mask by Made with Hemp is manufactured with renewable hemp together with light, organic cotton. It’s designed with a organic cotton ties and a soft pocket liner for added comfort. Feel free to wash and sanitize this mask so that you can reuse it again and again.
Wishtrend Organic Hemp Face Mask: This South Korean made non-medical grade, reusable hemp mask is manufactured with 55% hemp, and 45% cotton. As a result you get a super soft, gentle face mask.
First Crop Hemp Face Mask: This face mask is made with 4 washable layers plus an adjustable nose bridge to accommodate varying face sizes. It’s equipped with antimicrobial properties and strong hemp fiber as well as a filtration barrier so that you can enjoy its breathable properties while staying protected.
Schoenberg 100% Hemp Face Mask: Made from only 100% hemp and organic cotton threads, this face mask doesn’t have any of the nasty stuff that conventional medical face masks have: formaldehyde, chemicals, pesticides, and GMO. It’s naturally anti-bacterial and feels really good on the skin. To disinfect, just submerge the mask in hot water for 30 seconds and let it dry.
With these great choices, there’s no reason not to wear hemp face masks. It’s great for you and the environment – all while protecting you from COVID-19.