Across the world, new regulations have been brought into place to help limit the spread of COVID-19, that involve face coverings becoming mandatory in many places, including shops and public transport. Whilst we have been told we need to cover our faces, many people are wondering what is the best way to do so – what is the best face covering? At Bags of Ethics, we aim to bring you the downlow on the pros and cons of each different type of face covering.
Reusable vs. single use
Single-use face masks, whilst very convenient and cheap, have several negative impacts. Firstly, they are in short supply across the world due to the global pandemic, and are desperately needed by healthcare workers. By using single-use masks as a member of the general public you are reducing the supply available to healthcare workers. Single-use also have a larger environmental impact. They are made from polypropylene, a derivative of plastic, which takes a long time to decompose. Single-use masks are being discarded carelessly, and are therefore being found washed up on beaches across the world, posing as a danger to the wildlife that inhabits our oceans.
Reusable masks therefore are deemed a better option, both for the people and the planet. They do not use up vital stocks of surgical masks needed by healthcare workers, and do not contain single-use plastic. Reusable masks are found to be just as efficient as surgical masks in preventing the spread of COVID when worn by the general public.
Do I need a filter?
Unless you have a specific medical condition or are working as healthcare worker around people with COVID, you do not need a mask with a filtration device. Face coverings are used by the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, not to stop you from getting it. A fabric face covering will successfully stop those who may have the virus but be asymptomatic, from spreading the virus through mouth or nose droplets.
Which face coverings are acceptable?
The UK government has stated that fabric face coverings are sufficient enough to be worn by the general public. However whatever face covering you do wear, it should fit snugly around your nose and mouth, and not billow at the sides at all.
Where should I wear face coverings?
Face coverings are mandatory on all forms of public transport in the UK
What face coverings work?
A face covering of any kind is effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Any material covering the face helps stop the spread of droplets from things such as breathing, speaking, coughing and sneezing. This means that when in places where social distancing cannot be fully observed, such as on public transport or in shops, people who have COVID but who are asymptomatic are much less likely to infect others as their droplets are caught by the face covering. Therefore, fabric face coverings are just as effective as surgical masks.
At Bags of Ethics we have developed a range of reusable face coverings that are beneficial to both people and planet. They are washable, reusable, and contain no single-use plastic. We have developed them in conjunction with British and European scientists, who have advised us and stipulated the specific requirements needed to help effectively stop the spread of COVID-19. To see the range, visit https://bagsofethics.org/shop/