We didn’t see this one coming at the start of the year: face masks are now a necessity for billions of people. Did you know there have been more face masks produced in 2020 than there are people alive? It’s not uncommon for people to now own multiple reusable masks, and a hundred or more disposable ones. The UN estimates sales of disposable masks to increase by 20,000% in 2020 compared to 2019(1). This volume of disposable masks unfortunately also creates huge environmental issues as an estimated 129 billion face masks are being used each month, many of which are single use disposable masks filling up our oceans and landfills.
Despite the quick uptake of this new global trend, style and functions of masks are evolving. There are some strange solutions out there for sure. But most people would agree on the following points at least:
- We want an alternative to having to litter the world with millions of disposable masks
- We have preferences on design and color when it comes to this new, must have accessory.
Even at Batik Boutique, we only produced one style batik face mask when we first launched our collection. Now we have upgraded all of our batik face masks to have nose wires, include the option for 3-ply or 4-ply and offer elastic behind the ear, around the head, or with adjustable straps. In addition, we use various materials for filtering and breathability like cotton, polyester, and non-woven filters. All of our batik face masks use 100% natural cotton fiber, which is preferable to breathing through synthetic materials. We adapted to the World Health Organization guidelines for the KL Face Mask incorporating 3 layers of polyester and cotton. And we produce new prints and styles weekly because our reusable face masks quickly sell out.
Along with the evolution of consumer preferences, companies are beginning to give their employees corporate masks. They are finding that when commit to eco-friendly practices, that doesn’t coincide when employees wear disposable masks. Last week, design-powerhouse Apple created their own corporate face mask and sent out press releases about it. This is the way forward for corporate merchandise and corporate sustainability practice. Using reusable masks reduces the effect of disposable masks on climate change by 90% (2).
Batik Boutique produces bespoke face masks for corporate clients with company logos and corporate colors, sometimes incorporating batik motifs. Others have asked us to produce masks as gifts with purchase or promotional product because they know most of their customers would appreciate a new addition to their mask collection, and who doesn't love free?
When you choose reusable masks, choose them in line with your values. Make a statement with your mask: be bold. Tell a story: be impactful. Inspire others: be conscientious. For your neighbor, for the environment, for your own fashion statement: it’s time to embrace the world’s newest essential.