Recyclable face masks | Can I recycle face masks?

Are face masks recyclable? Unfortunately not. But there are still some great environmentally friendly mask options out there for you.

Are masks recyclable? Recycle
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It is now mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport and in shops in England. Face coverings will be compulsory in more indoor spaces from 8 August including cinemas, museums and places of worship. Full advice on our masks hub here.

Some sellers will charge prices far above the average, also known as “price gouging”. We encourage consumers to compare options before making a purchasing decision.

Are face masks recyclable?

We’ve all probably been outside and seen disposable, surgical style face masks littering the ground and thought to ourselves… “There has to be a better way?” Unfortunately, surgical masks, N95 masks and even cloth masks cannot be recycled. This is because the masks are made from multiple materials fused together to try to prevent the spread of virus droplets. Since these materials cannot be separated after mask use, the masks cannot be recycled. It is not recommended to try to recycle any materials that are used for any kind of medical purpose.

What is the most environmentally friendly mask option?

Disposable surgical style masks are definitely no friend to Mother Earth, so what’s the best eco-friendly option out there?

If you are not in direct contact with anyone who has COVID-19 then UK government advice is to wear a non-medical face covering and if you’re concerned about disposing of a mask after every time you go outside, then reusable masks are probably the way to go for you.

What are reusable masks?

Reusable masks are generally made from fabric (often cotton) and can be worn and then washed or left overnight for bacteria to die and then be worn again. Some reusable masks have filter pockets that you can buy PM2.5 filters for, some masks have filters built in and some cloth masks are simply a few layers of cloth designed to prevent droplets spreading from coughs and sneezes.

What are the best reusable masks for the environment?

Boden's face masks are made from the ends of fabric rolls to prevent waste.

Boden's face masks are made from the ends of fabric rolls to prevent waste. from Boden

These fun and colourful masks from Boden are reusable and fully machine washable at 60ºC. Each pack contains 3 masks and they're made from the ends of fabric rolls.

View details
Green camo face mask with a PM2.5 filter - £9.99
Green camo face mask with a PM2.5 filter - £9.99


100% black cotton reusable & washable face mask | UK handmade
100% black cotton reusable & washable face mask | UK handmade


What to look for when buying a reusable cloth mask

  • Multiple layers of fabric. Multiple layers will increase the effectiveness of the mask.
  • Local sellers. Buying local will help reduce the carbon footprint of delivery.
  • Filter pocket. Masks without built-in filters are easier to wash and can stand being washed more times.
  • Is the mask machine washable? Ain’t nobody got time for hand-washing things! Throwing your masks in with your regular laundry will save you time and water.
  • Nose wire. Nose wires allow the masks to fit your face more snugly and doesn’t affect their washability.
  • Size. Most masks are available in various sizes such as small, medium, large and kids sizes. Make sure you order the right size for your face!

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JENNIFEROctober 7, 2020


    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RobellynnOctober 9, 2020Staff

      Hello Jennifer,

      Thank you for contacting Finder.

      I understand you’d like to know if PM 2.5 filters are recyclable. Based on some external research, it is stated that PM 2.5 filter masks are disposable.

      Usually, the masks come with approximately 5 filters, that can be effective for 1 to 3 days, which could amount to 1 to 2 weeks of occasional use. The time of 1 to 2 weeks is based on casual use of the mask, such as wearing it only when heading outside the home, going shopping, or riding a bike to and from work, for example. If the mask is worn continuously for a whole 8 hour working day, then the filter will only last 1-2 days. Just to be on the safe side.

      It is also stated that filters can be changed once every week, so a mask should be lasting you for a month or two, depending on the frequency of use.

      Hope this helped. Should you have further questions or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

      Best Regards,

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