I don’t want to use disposable masks, but I like some of their features.
They have obvious benefits, but also significant drawbacks: They contain plastics. They create so much extra rubbish that has to be dealt with, and people aren’t too careful about how they’re disposing of them. A significant proportion of them constitute hazmat, since they will contain viral matter captured from the air around the not-yet diagnosed Covid-positive, which the poor refuse collectors will be expected to deal with. And they’re an ongoing and constant expense.
I’ve written several times before about making masks. The initial version, the revised, improved version. I’m now onto version 3, and it integrates some of the good features of the disposable mask, without itself being disposable. I bought a pack of 5, and I picked them to pieces. I ended up with 5 nose wires, 5 pairs of elastic ear loops, and 5 pieces of waterproof fabric. What was left was basically paper towel, and I used it as such before it finally hit the bin.
Into my existing fitted masks I have sewn the nose wires for an even tighter fit, and the soft ear loops for more comfort than the ¼ inch strip elastic I’ve used up to now. I will integrate the waterproof fabric pieces into new masks to save having to use Scotchgard® on the outside. The fabric masks, and these components, are washable and thus will stay out of landfill much longer than the disposable masks. At some stage I’d guess the nose wire may start to rust or deteriorate, at which point it’ll be time for another pack of 5 masks to pick apart. And it leaves the surgical masks available for those who really need them.
Win-win, I reckon.