Do-It-Yourself Face Mask with Scrap Fabric

Wearing a mask when leaving your house has become the norm now. While disposable masks are convenient, they are a single-use item and can often be found littered on the streets, meaning they can travel through waterways and storm drains and eventually make their way into the Bay and ocean. Many brands have come out with stylish masks, but making your own is an easy way to use up fabric scraps that you may already have at home, while preventing unnecessary emissions from shipping a new mask.

DIY masks are most effective when made from a tightly woven material. Examples of this are bedsheets and t-shirts with minimal stretch. Other components of the mask, such as the nose-bridge piece, can be made from craft pipe cleaners, twist ties, or other flexible materials. The mask can be made with either ear loops, which are typically elastic, but can be made with other stretch materials, or a long string.

If you are using a reusable mask, it is imperative that it is washed after use with warm water and sent through the dryer OR put out in the sun to dry.

The DIY method below is being shared by a friend of RethinkWaste, Gail Oshima, and written by Dr. Katie Fry and Emily Knapp, RN.

You will need…

  • A sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fabric for the mask
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Iron (optional)

Glossary

  • Right side: The side that you would like to show when the project is finished
  • Seam allowance: How far away the stitches are from the edge of the fabric

Instructions

Step 1. Cut fabric into a 7.5” x 15” rectangle (see “You will need” section above).

The print should be in the direction that you want going the 15” way. If you have a thin fabric that you like, consider doubling up by using a sheet or other tightly-woven fabric.

Stack the rectangles on top of each other.

Step 2. Fold in half width-wise (hamburger style) with right sides together.

Step 3. To make a 3 in. filter opening, mark 2.25 in. from both right and left raw edges. Sew from the edge to the 2.25 in. mark.

Step 4. Flip right side out.

Step 5a. Fold and pin down the raw edges of the filter opening.

Step 5b. Sew them down

Step 6. Adjust the mask so the filter opening is where you would like it.

Step 7a. Measure your pipe cleaner (or other bendy material) for width and length. From the top of the mask, mark a line that is the length of the pipe cleaner and 1/8 of an inch wider than it.

Step 7b. Sew 2 out of 3 sides, insert the pipe cleaner, and sew the 3rd side closed.

Step 8. Make your mask pleats. There should be a total of 4. Pin them in place. If you are using an iron, use it to press the pleats down.

Step 9. Sew the pleats down with a ¼ in. seam allowance form each side. This is around the edge of the foot. Be sure to catch all folds.

Step 10. Measure the width of your mask (most likely around 3 inches wide). Cut 2 rectangles of fabric that are 3 inches wide and ¾ in. longer than the mask width (ex: 3 ¾ in. x 3 in.).

Step 11a. Pin them to the front of the mask with right sides together. 

Step 11b. Sew down at ½ in. seam allowance.

Step 12. Fold this over and outward, then fold the 3 remaining edges in at about ¼ in. Press.

Step 13. Fold this to the inside of the mask, leaving plenty of room for your elastic or other fabric strips to slip through. Pin down and sew at ¼ in. seam allowance.

Step 14. Press again if desired, and thread your chosen attachment method (elastic or fabric strip). Enjoy your homemade mask!

Now you can start making your own face masks! Remember this is a great way to use up things like ripped sheets (you don’t need to buy new fabric), while creating something you’ll need! It also is a creative way to practice one of the 4 R’s – Reduce. There are also so many other simple projects – such as rags, bags, and scrunchies that can utilize old clothes or sheets too!

We would love to see how you practice reducing and creative reuse. Take a picture of your action(s) and tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Join Us for Rethink Recycling Days!

This year, we are celebrating Rethink Recycling Day by hosting two full days of virtual tours and workshops in partnership with local experts from community-focused businesses and organizations.

If you want to see where your waste goes, heal your sick houseplant, keep your food fresher for longer, or fix a broken appliance in your home, join us virtually on Saturday, November 7th and Saturday, November 14th for these no-cost offerings:

  • Virtual Shoreway Tours
  • Houseplant Care & Home Herb Garden How-To – Presented by Lyngso Garden Materials
  • Waste Bingo & Crafts for Kids!
  • Virtual Fixit Clinic
  • Sourdough for Starters – Presented by Zero Waste Chef
  • Food Safety How-To’s: Storing, Identifying Imperfect Produce & Jamming – Presented by Master Food Preservers
  • Mental Health Resiliency & Coping w/ Climate Change – Presented by Resource Innovation Group
  • Get to Know Your Community Partners – Presented in conjunction with Recology San Mateo County, South Bay Recycling, Peninsula Clean Energy, San Mateo County Parks & Office of Sustainability
  • Happy Hour w/ RethinkWaste Executive Director & Poster Contest Winner Recognition

Sign up for the workshops are required and information on how to sign-up and more information about Rethink Recycling Days can be found at: rethinkwaste.org/rrd

2020 RethinkWaste Poster Contest Open

The 7th annual RethinkWaste poster contest is now open!

The theme for the 2020 contest is Rethinking Waste on the Move. Students are encouraged to illustrate which of the 4 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot/Compost) they are practicing while spending time in their yard, neighborhood, local parks, and other outdoor spaces. 

Entry Details
All 3rd through 5th grade students attending schools located in the RethinkWaste service area* are eligible to enter the contest.

Poster submissions must be on 8.5 x 11 inch white paper in landscape orientation. Any 2D mediums may be used, including paint, markers, crayons, and colored pencils. Use of bright, rich colors are recommended. Only one entry per student will be acceptedArtwork must be original – posters that contain copyrighted images will be disqualified.

The deadline for poster entries is Friday, October 30, 2020 at Noon via our online submission form.

Prizes
The 1st Place poster will be enlarged and displayed on the side of a Recology truck with routes in the winning artist’s local neighborhood. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place winners will receive their choice of a gift card for a fun outing at a selection of local businesses. All winning posters will also be highlighted on the RethinkWaste website and in other promotional materials.

View examples of previous years’ Poster Contest winning submissions here.

*The RethinkWaste service area includes Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, the County of San Mateo and the West Bay Sanitary District.

Join Us For a Virtual Shoreway Facility Tour!

RethinkWaste has launched a brand new, virtual version of our popular Shoreway Facility Tours – no shoes, vests, or masks required! 

Come and learn what happens to our recycling, compost, and garbage after it gets picked up from homes and businesses.

These free virtual tours will give you an inside look at how recyclables are sorted in our recently upgraded Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and how compost and garbage are consolidated at the Transfer Station. RethinkWaste Staff will also provide an overview of how to properly sort your materials, how you can reuse and reduce at home, and answer questions about hard-to-recycle items.

Registration is required and we offer tours for school groups, businesses and organizations, and the general public. School and business tours are available Monday-Friday at 10 a.m. and/or 1 p.m., while public tours are the first and third Thursdays of the month at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

For more specific information on each tour type and to schedule a tour today, click the appropriate link below.

Public Recycling Center Reopens Monday, August 3

RethinkWaste has reopened the Shoreway Public Recycling Center located at 333 Shoreway Road in San Carlos beginning today, Monday, August 3.

The Public Recycling Center (PRC) resumed regular business hours to serve as a free drop off location for residential customers ONLY. Items accepted for drop off at the PRC include: electronic waste, cooking oil, fluorescent lights, batteries, used motor oil and filters, and excess cardboard. A full list of accepted materials can be found at: RethinkWaste.org/PRC

Public Recycling Center regular business hours: Monday – Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

A reminder that Shoreway’s Transfer Station continues to be open to accept non-hazardous residential and commercial solid waste materials, landscaping/organic materials, and construction and demolition materials for a fee. Additionally, residents of the RethinkWaste service area can obtain up to two bags of high-quality compost materials for their gardens at no charge at the Transfer Station.

With this opening, RethinkWaste expects a ramp up of visitors (vehicles) and materials coming in. Alongside our facility contractor, South Bay Recycling, we are highly committed to ensuring all site employees and visitors stay safe. 

All site employees and visitors will be required to wear a face covering and observe all mandated physical distancing measures while on site. Any visitors not wearing a face covering will be asked to leave. All public visitors will be subject to a non-contact, temperature screening test in accordance with the local Health Order and any visitors who have excessive temperatures will not be allowed access to the facility. In addition, due to social distancing requirements, site employees will serve to direct visitors where to drop-off their items, but will not be able to assist customers with the placement of those items.

While we are looking forward to the re-opening of our Public Recycling Center, we encourage members of the public that can hold on to their materials for a while longer to do so to allow for those in greatest need to use the facility at this time. We do expect many visitors onsite and do ask for patience and adherence to local health and safety rules. If you need tips or best practices on what to do with your waste, please visit review our latest news and blog postsFacebookTwitter, and Instagram posts for information.

2020 Trash to Art Winners Announced

RethinkWaste is excited to announce the winners of its eighth annual “Trash to Art” Contest, which was open to all 3rd through 5th grade students in the RethinkWaste service area. The contest challenged students to create a piece of art from normally discarded materials collected at home, school, and around the community.

The student artists submitted one-of-a-kind pieces, ranging from intricate models and detailed dioramas to fully functional, interactive displays. Winners were recognized by RethinkWaste Staff and the Board of Directors at a virtual Trash to Art Recognition event on Friday, May 29th, from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The winners and their respective cities and schools are listed below:

First Place
Gabriel P. (3rd grade)
Laurel School, Menlo Park
“Alligator Golf Hazard”

Second Place
Megan N. (4th grade)
Laurel School, Menlo Park
“Save the Turtles”

Third Place
Nathan T. (4th grade)
Nesbit Elementary, Belmont
“Recycle Air”

Honorable Mention
Henrique C. (3rd grade)
Laurel School, Menlo Park
“The Respiratory System”

In addition to being acknowledged during the Trash to Art Recognition video call, the winning students will receive special recognition at upcoming City Council meetings in their respective cities.

Finally, as a reward for their creative efforts, contest winners will receive a gift card to a fun destination of their choice. 

Shoreway Transfer Station Will Reopen to Public on May 4

RethinkWaste will reopen the Shoreway Environmental Center’s Transfer Station located at 333 Shoreway Road in San Carlos beginning May 4, based on the revised San Mateo County Health Order c19-5c issued on April 29 that is set to take effect May 4.

The Transfer Station will resume regular business hours to receive all regular, non-hazardous residential and commercial waste, including: solid waste materials, landscaping/organic materials, and construction and demolition materials. Full list of accepted materials can be found here. In addition, residents of the RethinkWaste service area will also be able to obtain up to two bags of high-quality compost materials for their gardens at no charge.

Transfer Station regular business hours: Monday-Friday: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday:  8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

“We recognize the urgent community need to reopen the facility as residents and businesses reactivate their construction projects, clean out their garages and yards, and lots of other low-risk, allowable activities during this time,” said Joe La Mariana, RethinkWaste Executive Director.

With this opening, RethinkWaste expects a ramp up of visitors and materials and alongside our facility contractor, South Bay Recycling, we are highly committed to ensuring all site employees and visitors stay safe. All site employees and visitors will be required to use masks/face coverings and observe all mandated social distancing measures while on site. All public visitors will be subject to a non-contact, temperature screening test in accordance with the local Health Order. These tests will be administered at the public scale house and visitors who have excessive temperatures will not be allowed access to the facility

While the Shoreway Transfer Station will reopen, the Shoreway Public Recycling Center will remain closed. This facility that accepts residential waste such as excess cardboard, electronic waste, cooking oil, and other materials, has a smaller space that does not allow staff to currently comply with the County’s Health Officer order. When we can safely reopen this part of the facility, we will let the public know here on our website and social media channels.

In the meantime, we encourage members of the public that can hold on to their materials for a longer period of time to do so to allow for those low-risk services that are resuming to be able to use the Shoreway facility appropriately and safely. If you need tips or best practices on what to do with your waste, please visit review our latest news and blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts for information.

Please note that recycling, composting, and garbage services will still occur for residents and businesses by Recology San Mateo County in the RethinkWaste service area as this is an essential infrastructure service.

Shoreway Environmental Center Closed to the Public

Updated May 2, 2020

Starting Monday, May 4, 2020, the Shoreway Transfer Station will open to the public. The Public Recycling Center will remain closed until further notice.

Updated April 2, 2020

Due to the current Shelter in Place Order and to protect worker safety, the Shoreway Environmental Center is closed effective March 17 to the public until further notice. This includes the Public Recycling Center and the Transfer Station.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please check back here or our social media channels for the latest updates.

Please note that recycling, composting, and garbage services will still occur for residents and businesses by Recology San Mateo County in the RethinkWaste service area as this is an essential infrastructure service. Please continue to place carts out the night before your normal collection day to ensure proper service.

RethinkWaste’s administrative office’s in San Carlos are also currently closed, but Staff continues to work remotely to support our partners Recology and South Bay Recycling, and our Member Agencies and the communities we all serve.

Shoreway Facility Tours Temporarily Suspended

Updated April 29, 2020

Tours scheduled for June 2020 will proceed at this time, but no new tour requests will be processed. The status of the Shoreway Tour Program aligns with the closure of public access to the Shoreway Environmental Center facility for the duration of the San Mateo County Shelter in Place order. RethinkWaste staff will continue to provide updates as the COVID-19 situation progresses. Please check back here for updates.

If you are not able to attend a tour, but are interested in waste reduction education, please view alternative activities and resources on our Teaching Tools page.


Updated April 3, 2020

Tours scheduled for May and June 2020 will proceed at this time, but no new tour requests will be processed. The status of the Shoreway Tour Program aligns with the closure of public access to the Shoreway Environmental Center facility for the duration of the San Mateo County Shelter in Place directive. RethinkWaste staff will continue to provide updates as the COVID-19 situation progresses. Please check back here for updates.

If you are not able to attend a tour but are interested in waste reduction education, please view alternative activities and resources on our Teaching Tools page.


Due to increasing concerns regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and recently issued directives from San Mateo County Health, the Shoreway Tour Program is suspended starting today March 11 for the rest of March 2020 and for all of April 2020. This includes our previously planned Shoreway Tours: Weekend Edition for April 4 and 5. The health and safety of our visitors is our top priority and postponing tours is a precautionary measure to help prevent the possible spread of the virus.

RethinkWaste Staff is closely following the progress of this rapidly changing situation and will let everyone know whether or not tours can be rescheduled or continue for May or June 2020. Please check back to our website or our social media channels for updates. These actions are in line with many cities and school districts in our RethinkWaste service area and we will continue to look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and San Mateo County Health as our primary source of information and guidance.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact RethinkWaste staff.

How You Can Stop Food Waste

Did you know that one of the most environmentally conscious choices you can make is to not waste food? Food waste affects many aspects of our daily lives: transportation, the environment, the economy, and even our wallets. It’s estimated that in the United States that food waste represents 30-40% of the food supply, and yet 1 in 3 children in Silicon Valley are food insecure. The good news is you have the control to lessen your food waste and here are easy tips on how!

Only buy what you need

Plan your meals out for the week by making a shopping list and buy only from that list. Feel the satisfaction when you realize you bought the perfect amount of food for the week!

Stay organized/store food properly

It may seem surprising to know that a huge reason we end up wasting food is the way it was stored! Keep food that should be eaten sooner at the front of the fridge and try to use air-tight containers. Additionally, temperatures and humidity levels in your fridge vary from spot to spot. Stash items in the proper section and they’ll last longer.

Only take what you can eat

This may seem like a simple one but too often we fill our plate with a bunch of food we do not actually have the appetite for, which ends up getting wasted. Start off with a smaller portion and you can always go back for seconds.

Bring a reusable container when you go out to eat

Always keep a reusable container handy when dining out. If you have any leftovers, you can slip it into your container to take home. You’ll be reducing food waste AND a take-out container from the restaurant. Double win!                      

Freeze food

Remember the great benefits of having a freezer! Nearly every meal can be frozen and eaten at a later date. Portion it into smaller servings and remember to label it.

Taking mindful steps to lessen our food waste ensures that the resources and time that were put into making the food does not go to waste. When you consistently make conscious decisions about how to buy and store your food, it will eventually become habit and you’ll be rescuing food from being wasted in no time! Americans waste an average of one pound of food per day. Let’s get that to zero.

For more food waste tips, visit stopfoodwaste.org.