In today’s new normal brought on by the notorious COVID-19, it is more important than ever to stay safe and healthy. The continuous rise in cases from this deadly virus has pushed many of us to include masks, sanitizers, and disinfectant wipes/sprays in our daily essentials. However, the massive increase in sales of disposable masks and sanitizer containers has led to 75% of these items ending up in landfills or floating in the seas (United Nations, 2020). I must admit that I, myself, have been making a lot of waste from disposable masks, used disinfectant wipes, and even the use of plastic from grocery stores that do not allow bringing of reusable bags. The good news is many brands have developed sustainable items that will keep us protected from Miss ‘Rona. Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly quarantine essentials that you might want to check out the next time you stock up!
Eco-friendly Face Masks I Love
Truth be told, face masks have evolved from a protective item into a must-have fashion accessory. While we must protect sensitive facial organs like our nose and mouth, as well as preventing the spread of our droplets, I know that many of us also prioritize staying cute and on-point during the rare times that we go out. Now, we can stay safe while also looking stylish AF with these lovely masks that are both pretty and sustainable!
Additionally, if you are not a health worker or a “frontliner,” I highly recommend trying out reusable face masks over disposable masks. This is not only good for the planet, but will also save these must-needed items for our essential workers. To guarantee the effectiveness of reusable face masks, opt for washable double-layered masks or those with a filter pocket. Here’s a list of face masks that are now vital items in my eco-friendly quarantine essentials.
1. Onzie ($24/2-pack)
Onzie’s Mindful Masks are breathable, reusable, and washable face masks. These masks are not only fashionable and made from upcycled activewear material – perfect for working out outdoors or running. What’s more, Onzie has donated thousands of masks to local hospitals in LA and also grants a portion of the proceeds to the Center for Disaster Philantrophy. Onzie also ships worldwide, so call your sustainable friends and family, order in bulk, and have it delivered wherever you are in the world.
2. Made Trade ($40/3-pack)
Made Trade’s soft, breathable, but thick face masks are made from recycled hemp and organic cotton. The sustainable brand offers three sizes (adult, adult small, and kids), which is fantastic, especially for adults with a small face like I do. The brand also offers four different colors and patterns to choose from. What I really like about this mask is that it complies with the CDC and Kaiser Permanente’s guidelines for cloth face coverings. Plus, it comes with a pocket for an optional filter. Lastly, as if I can’t gush enough about these masks, Made Trade also employs local sewers and makers affected by the pandemic.
3. Christy Dawn ($30/5-pack +5 donated)
Christy Dawn’s Sustainable Masks are made from organic cotton and sustainable leftover fabric, also known as deadstock. One order of these eco-friendly quarantine essentials will donate five additional asks to those in need. These gorgeous masks come in various styles and provide options for either behind-the-ear elastics or tie straps to ensure 100% comfortability for the wearer. These affordable masks also come in kid’s size and have options for international shipping.
4. Whimsy + Row ($10-$26/mask + 1 donated)
Whimsy + Row’s sustainable and washable face mask uses upcycled cotton fabric, as well as reduce packaging waste and conserve water. While these masks only come in one size, it does offer a variety of chic styles and patterns to choose from. These beautiful three-layered masks are not only perfect for your #OOTD, but are also adjustable and provide a filter option. With every piece purchased, the brand also donates one mask to a person in areas that need them the most, such as women’s shelters.
5. Bhumi ($29/2-pack)
Bhumi’s face masks are made from 100% certified organic cotton and utilize “offcuts” that usually go to waste. The brand offers a wide array of patterns to choose from and comes in three different sizes (S-M-L). These sustainable masks are also dyed with Global Organix Textile Standard (GOTS) approved inks and free from toxic chemicals. The brand also ships internationally from Australia!
Must-Try Eco-friendly Hand Soaps
While sanitizers are good for when you are out and about, nothing beats proper handwashing. Like many cosmetics and beauty products, hand soaps utilize a lot of water and toxic chemicals during production. The increase in consumption of hand soaps and other cleansing items leads to these chemicals going to our freshwater streams and seas, as well as the unnecessary waste of tons of water.
Good things there are sustainable alternatives to the typical hand soaps packaged in plastics bottles. I’ve compiled my favorite eco-friendly antibacterial and antiviral hand soaps that you need to include in your eco-friendly quarantine essentials!
1. Gelo ($5/refill bag)
Gelo is a hand soap made of refill pods that you can drop in any recyclable and reusable container that you have. Because it is a concentrated pod, all you have to do is add water to the container to create a foaming hand soap. Gelo’s pods are biodegradable and made of natural ingredients that do not contaminate water steam. Not only does Gelo reduce water consumption and contribute microplastic pollution, it also dramatically reduces carbon emissions during transportation because of its small size. The best thing about Gelo is that each refill bag can make four bottles of hand soaps! Talk about bang for your buck!
2. Cleancult ($6.99/carton)
One of the reasons I love Cleancult is its use of natural ingredients with antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. However, what makes this eco-friendly guaranty essential awesome is its classic milk carton packaging that is easy to recycle! Cleancult is definitely a perfect addition to my list of eco-friendly quarantine essentials.
3. Soap Sense ($10.99/pack)
Unlike Gelo that uses pods, Soap Sense foaming hand soaps come in tablet form. Simply fill an 8-ounce bottle with water, dissolve two tablets in it, and it transforms into a foaming hand soap. Not only does Soap Sense save space, but its compact packaging enables the brand to offer free shipping on all its refill tablets. The bast part is you help save the environment by not purchasing hand soaps packaged in plastic bottles. Each pack can make 48 ounces of foaming hand soap.
4. Blueland ($6/pack of 3)
Similar to Soap Sense, Blueland uses tablets to create foaming hand soap. Besides saving space and helping save the planet, Blueland’s soaps are friendly to the skin as they do not contain Triclosan, Parabens, and Phthalates. Blueland also offers multi-surface cleaners, laundry soap, dishsoap, bathroom cleaners, and glass + mirror cleaners – all in tablet form!
My Favorite Eco-friendly Sanitizers
Even before the pandemic, I have always made sure that I have a bottle of sanitizer in my car or in my purse. However, since I’ve been using much more sanitizers nowadays, I thought it’s high time to switch to more eco-friendly alternatives. Here are some of the brands I found online, which are not only sustainable but also affordable.
1. By Humankind ($15/3 bottlesl)
By Humankind’s hand sanitizer is packed in recyclable aluminum bottles to reduce single-use plastic waste. Each order includes three bottles of sanitizer and an optional reusable pump that can be reused and transferred onto the other bottles. The brand also offsets 100% of its carbon footprint by engaging in forest preservation projects. This moisturizing alcohol-based sanitizer also comes in an 8-oz aluminum bottle to refill any travel-sized container that you may already have.
2. Plaine Products ($20/16 fl oz)
You may have heard about Plaine Products’ sustainable shampoos, but did you know that this brand also offers sanitizers? Similar to By Humankind, Plaine Products also packages its products in zero plastic aluminum bottles. However, the company takes it one step further through its refill program, where you can ship back your empty aluminum cans for a refill. Aside from helping reduce plastic waste, you can also be wary of what you put on your body because Plaine Products uses vegan and non-GMO ingredients, as well as natural essential oils.
3. Habitat Botanicals ($22.95/3-pack)
Habitat Botanicals is a hydrating sanitizer packaged in glass bottles. This sanitizer boasts of being medical-grade, anti-bacterial, and uses simple and natural ingredients to keep your hands smooth and moisturized. The company also swears by its plastic-free mission. Aside from eco-friendly quarantine essentials, Habitat Botanicals also offers daily hygiene staples like deodorant, shampoo and conditioner bars, body wash bars, lip balls, compostable toothbrushes, etc. Go check out their site!
I know that the pandemic has hit many us hard, some more than the others. Unfortunately, with the need to use single-use plastic in grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses, as well as the increase in the use of disposable masks, gloves, sanitizers, and medical items, the environment has become one of the victims of this dreadful time. While many of us cannot really afford to try out new products during this time, I hope that those who are financially able to do so can make environmentally-conscious purchase decisions. So next time that you’re stocking up on masks, sanitizers, and hand soaps, why don’t you check out these eco-friendly quarantine essentials that will protect not only you but also the planet?
Of course, my suggestions above are just based on my own knowledge and personal research. I still highly recommend checking out the new regulations for face coverings and sanitary supplies from the CDC for my US readers and DOH for my readers in the Philippines.
As always, if you have anything you would like for me to add to this list, or if you’d like to share your thoughts regarding this topic, please feel free to leave a comment, contact me, or slide into my DMs on Instagram.