As more and more colleges announce plans to return to campus for the fall, it's time for college students to start our back-to-school shopping sprees. This year, in addition to treating myself to brand-new ink pens and a fresh pair of jeans, I'm buying face masks. Yup, masks, plural.
Proper mask hygiene involves washing after each use, per the CDC; what college student has time (or laundromat quarters) to go through that with a single mask each day? Instead, stock up on masks this summer to make your fall semester as safe and stress-free as can be.
These 15 masks are eco-friendly, from upcycled and organic materials to zero-waste production. Plus, there's no better time to support small businesses like these!
Pair this mask with a casual white sweater or summertime tank top and you'll be serving. Serving sustainably, that is, thanks to this low-resource production.
I'm willing to bet you have a snakeskin-patterned piece of clothing in your college closet. Thanks to Onzie's attention to campus trends, you can find masks that match your bar or frat party look any night. They're made from upcycled yoga clothing and proceeds from the masks are donated to the Center for Disease Philanthropy.
I'm in love with this natural look. It's perfect for a hike, a visit to your campus arboretum, or a day of outdoor community service. Each fabric is designed artisanally – you can find designers attributed on the creator's page – and for every mask sold, another is donated to a high-risk individual.
Lotus and Luna is known for their boho clothes and their commitment to helping women escape the cycle of poverty in Northern Thailand. These new masks are hand sewn from hand dyed fabric, which is upcycled from excess materials. Plus, with each sale, another mask is donated to an essential worker!
tonlé is a zero waste, ethical fashion manufacturer whose mission is to reduce waste generated by larger clothing factories; their handmade products upcycle scrap waste and recycled packaging. Their facilities avoid CO2 emissions and unnecessary water usage, and they've partnered with Greenstory to show customers the impact of their purchases.
These masks come in a variety of patterns, so you're sure to have options when you're heading out. Reformation is committed to sustainable practices across the board, from carbon and water neutrality to sustainable and restorative sourcing. Plus, you can choose to donate another five masks to communities in need with your purchase.
Fully-recycled and fully adorable, these masks strike a perfect balance between minimalist and vintage. The linen patterns have such a southern comfort vibe (probably because these reclaimed fabrics might've come from your aunt's kitchen).
Looking for a zero-waste mask that reminds people to save the earth while we protect each other? Look no further! These bees are too cute and they'll add an eye-catching pop of color to your fall fits.
Small businesses who thrift materials >>>
This Etsy shop is all about reclaiming materials from yard sales, close-out sales, and thrift stores to find one-of-a-kind materials, like the denim + duck cloth + canvas blend used here. I love this mask's fall colors – it's perfect for cooler weather.
Is it just me, or does this mask look designer? Here's another buy-one-donate-one mask that benefits California essential workers through the LA Protects initiative. Hyer Goods upcycles materials from larger factories for these masks, and they're plastic-free.
Recognized by LeafScore as the organically-made mask most likely to be protective, Rawganique's Vivaldi model uses organic cotton, organic cotton fleece, and organic jersey fabrics. Use it as a talking point in your next interview – sustainability is an increasingly common corporate value.
The innermost of this mask's three layers is organically treated to be water-repellant, so infectious droplets are much less likely to permeate your mask. They're sustainable, eco-friendly, and adorable!
PADI Gear's masks are made from recycled plastic bottles that might otherwise fill our oceans. Their COVID-19 products are sold at cost and include five filters to use between the mask's layers, and they come in five different designs. Marine biology majors, wya?
FFF will be back before we know it – when it is, we'll be ready, thanks to this beautifully intricate mask. They're made sustainably by artisans in Bengaluru, India; each mask is a donation to those artisans.
I. Am. In. Love.
Whimsy + Row's masks are modern and locally-sourced, and you can see your environmental impact as you order. Buying this mask, for example, saves 598 hours of bulb energy that a factory would otherwise produce.