Headlines like "The masks you throw away could end up killing a whale" and "Conservationists warn Covid waste may result in more masks than jellyfish in the sea" are not only littering the internet, they're also causing consumers to think twice before purchasing single-use. And now, an abundance of amazing local producers are now taking their hand to sewing reusable masks - an item we never thought would trend - to fulfil the needs of the masses.
Cloth masks are incredibly versatile and are rapidly becoming our new unexpected wardrobe staple! There are many advantages to reusable masks - not only do they provide us with the ability to wash and reuse again and again, they are also a far more economical choice whilst being immeasurably kinder to the environment. When buying a reusable mask, there are a couple of factors you'll want to take into consideration prior to purchasing, like ensuring that the fabric is breathable (this is where cotton comes in) and machine washable.
With potentially weeks, or even months ahead of mandatory face mask use, it's also quite important that your mask sits comfortably - enter Face Mask Ear Savers.
WHAT ARE EAR SAVERS?
Ear savers are a nifty little device designed to remove the irritation that face mask ear-loops create on your ears - simply wrap the mask elastic around the clip rather than your ears to immediately relieve pressure.
The downside is, whether mass produced or 3D printed, the majority of commercially sold ear savers are made from virgin plastic. This is concerning as the last thing we want to see are mountains of face masks, ear savers and other medical items (such as single-use gloves) cluttering up our roadsides, waterways and oceans.
ENTER PRECIOUS PLASTIC MELBOURNE
Precious Plastic Melbourne is a social enterprise and community hub where like-minded people are working towards better outcomes for traditionally “non-recyclable” products. Located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Precious Plastic's recycling facility is helping local businesses and individuals to close the loop.
Always on the hunt for ways to expand our vision for a better, more sustainable future, here at Crema Joe we felt a strong urge to do something to combat the environmentally detrimental effects of Covid-19. After reading story after story around the waste coming out of the current pandemic, we knew that there had to be a better way.
To date, we have collected around 300,000 plastic bottle-tops via our recycling program, and finally we have found an excellent purpose for these lids! A solution for Coronavirus plastic pollution - our 100% reclaimed plastic Ear Savers.
BOTTLE TOP EAR SAVERS
To help combat the problem of landfill and ocean waste, each Ear Saver is produced by hand and made entirely of locally sourced, recycled plastic bottle tops.
Our innovative design includes hook levels, enabling a customised fit and added comfort assisting wearers with a smaller head size to achieve a more snug mask fit, and are also an ideal solution for wearers of hearing aids and hijabs. We offer adults and kids sizes, to cover a wider range of fits, however if desired, our Ear Saver can also be easily cut down if the length is wider than you need.
Each excellent little ear protector is:
✓ Made from 4 plastic bottle caps
✓ Australian made
✓ Handcrafted in Melbourne
✓ Plastic package-free
Our handy Ear Savers are custom made to order, and come in a range of fun "bottle-top" themed colours, which we're adding to every week! Our most popular design has been our lovely, swirly bespoke "The Milky Way". Using our injection mould machine, each piece is unique - The Milky Way in particular is reminiscent of distant galaxies as it's namesake suggests. (Check out a video of our team making the Ear Savers here!)
We (of course) maintain low-waste shipping with these little guys too - delivery pricing and packaging is dictated by how many you order, with prices starting at $2.85 for shipping in either a card envelope or a recyclable cardboard box. Need to buy in bulk? We also do free shipping for orders over $80.
And when you're done with your Ear Saver, they can be dropped off or posted back to our warehouse to be recycled into other products - we love a closed loop!
As we always say, talking about sustainability isn’t enough - action is the only way we'll make a difference. And on a lighter note, at the end of the day if you're going to wear it out in public, it's important to like it, so choose colours and textures that you vibe!