Eco-Friendly Face Masks

Although Covid-19 vaccines are being administered around the world, the necessity of face masks will be with us for an undetermined amount of time. Medical experts are still unsure about viral spread post-vaccination, so it is advised that even those who have been vaccinated continue to wear a mask to protect those who still haven’t received their jab. The CDC currently recommends both non-medical disposable masks and cloth masks for use outside of healthcare settings. 

While non-medical disposable masks are an attractive option as you don’t have to deal with laundering, they are wreaking havoc on the environment. Like many disposable items, discarded masks are ending up in our oceans, polluting them and causing harm to animals who call the sea home. Take a look at this poor gull whose feet were wrapped up in the ear loops of a disposable face mask. When I first saw this image, I couldn’t help but be reminded of plastic rings that hold together canned drinks. Surely we all know by now to cut up the plastic rings prior to throwing them out; this same sentiment should be applied to your disposable face mask. If you must use a disposable face mask, please take an extra 5 seconds and cut the ear loops prior to discarding it, because you never know where your mask may end up after it’s tossed in the trash. You could save a life with this one easy step!

The CDC says that the most effective cloth masks are breathable—yet tightly woven—as well as multi-layered. They recommend avoiding masks with vents as these allow particles to escape. (It is also still advised to reserve surgical masks and respirators for medical personnel.) So taking into consideration these recommendations, as well as the environmental impacts of disposable masks, a reusable cloth mask is your best bet. When choosing a cloth mask, there are a plethora of sustainable options available. Better yet, you don’t have to break the bank when purchasing an eco-friendly mask, and some companies even donate a portion of their proceeds to non-profits. 


If you don’t have local mask makers in your area, check out these reusable, affordable and environmentally-friendly masks online. And be sure to consistently check in with the CDC to stay up to date with current COVID-19 information.


  1. Eco Mask
  • Claims to be the most sustainable face mask on the planet; here’s why
  • Tested in a world-class German laboratory with results showing 98% filtering efficiency against particles down to 0.3μm in size
  • 5 layers
  • UPF 50+ UV protection
  • 1% of proceeds go to Healthy Seas 
  • Made from post-consumer recycled content
  • Made in Germany with 100% renewable energy
  • Recyclable at end of use – send it back to Eco Mask and they will take care of it
  • Comes in compostable carbon negative packaging


  1. United By Blue Salvaged Hemp Blend Face Mask    
  • Crafted to CDC specifications
  • Has a filter slot between layers
  • Made from deadstock fabric: a blend of Hemp, Organic Cotton, Recycled Polyester, and TENCEL fabric
  • Made responsibly at their apparel factory in China
  • For each 3 pack purchased, one mask will be donated to Chosen 300 to benefit Philadelphia residents experiencing homelessness.


  1. Eileen Fisher Double Layer Organic Linen Mask
  • Made from Organic Handkerchief Linen, this fabric uses French flax grown without harmful chemicals
  • No filter pocket
  • Made in the USA
  • For every mask purchased, one is donated to an essential worker


  1. 5 Smiley Mask Pack
  • Made with organic cotton
  • Double layered
  • Has filter pocket


  1. Onzie Mindful Mask
  • Designed for working out
  • Made from up-cycled activewear material
  • Has filter pocket

The Recycling Dilemma: Is My Recycling Really Being Recycled?

Are you an avid recycler? Do you take an extra few minutes out of your day to rinse that glass kombucha bottle or plastic yogurt cup before tossing it in the bin? I, too, have been a diligent recycler and believer in the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra since I was a child. Recycling feels like a part of who I am—as natural as stretching upon waking. If you feel the same, I am very sorry to say that I have some sad news to share with you. Not all of your recycling is being recycled. 

Single-Stream Recycling 101

Before diving into the details, first let’s briefly talk about how the recycling system works. Here in Jacksonville, we participate in single-stream recycling. This means that we toss our different recyclable materials into a single bin, rather than sorting them prior to being collected. A benefit of single-stream recycling is lower collection costs, but the processing costs are higher since facilities must sort materials. Another advantage to single-stream recycling is that it increases household recycling rates, since self sorting isn’t required. While this makes it easy for the average person to recycle, it also leads to “aspirational” recycling and high contamination rates. People will often toss an item into the recycling bin hoping that it is recyclable without verifying that it is. Everything from bubble wrap to bowling balls to car seats have been pulled from recycling center conveyor belts. When unnoticed, these items jam the machines and hinder the recycling process. Not all recyclers are great at rinsing their items first either, allowing food particles and trash to enter the recycling stream. One non-recyclable or food-covered item mixed with recyclables can render the whole batch contaminated. Locally, floridarecycles.org says that 30% of Florida’s recycling is contaminated. According to the National Waste & Recycling Association, 25% of recycling nationwide is contaminated. Unfortunately, in 2018, high contamination levels led China to refuse recyclables from the US and other countries.

What Does China Have To Do With This?

Prior to 2018, China was the world’s largest buyer of recyclables from the US, Australia, Canada and parts of Europe. That’s right, your kombucha bottle and little yogurt cup used to travel all the way from Florida to China to be processed! But due to environmental and health concerns caused by multiple-million metric tons of recycling imported from around the world, the Chinese government instituted a policy stating they will only accept foreign materials with a very low contamination rate of 0.5%. They have also completely denied certain recyclables, including mixed paper and most plastics. While this is wonderful for their people and environment, this drastic change in policy has left our local waste management companies with piles of recycling. They now have the choice to pay higher rates to get rid of their materials or dump them. Usually, the cheapest option for disposal is to simply cart everything off to the landfill, which certainly is not where most of us believe our recycling is going. 

To be clear, not all of your recycling is going to the landfill. But since China has refused our waste, domestic recycling companies are tossing out more than they used to.

What Can I Do?

When I first learned that China stopped taking most of our recycling, admittedly I threw my hands in the air and wondered, “what’s the point?” The thought of my recycled items wasting away in a landfill, emitting methane and contributing to our warming Earth, was discouraging. But after further research and contemplation, I realized there is a lot you and I can do on the individual level to reduce contamination and also mitigate excessive recyclables from being diverted to landfills.

Improve your recycling habits.

        • Check out The City of Jacksonville’s website here for specific details on what is and isn’t recyclable in our area.
        • Once you know what can be recycled, recycle it properly! Thoroughly rinse and dry items before tossing them in the bin; be sure items are free from food and grease.
        • Do NOT bag your recyclables. Plastic bags clog the machinery and contaminate batches.
        • When in doubt about an object’s recyclability, throw it out. 

In addition to upping our recycling game, we should also be revisiting that phrase I love so much: “reduce, reuse, recycle.” It seems that we lost sight of “reduce and reuse” over the years, don’t you think? So much of our world is disposable and cheaply made. It is often less expensive to buy a new item than it is to get it repaired, just like it is frequently cheaper for companies to make items out of new materials rather than recycled ones. This information can be discouraging as well, but there are easy things we can do. The best part is, many of these solutions are not only good for our planet but they are good for your wallet too!

Reduce your consumption. 

This can be tough when we are constantly inundated with ads for the latest tech, fashion trends and the newest “must have” thing. But in order to create less waste, you must consume less. Full stop. In 2015, Americans generated 262.4 million tons of waste, which averages to nearly 5 pounds per person, per day!

Although I am not perfect, I truly try to avoid frivolous purchases. I am extremely conscientious about bringing new items into my home, which is an exercise in mindfulness. If you must purchase something, ensure that the new item either is  genuinely needed or is replacing a similar item that is being recycled or tossed.

Reuse what you have or what others no longer need.

Avoid disposable or one-time use items. Ask your barista if you can bring your own cup rather than using a paper/plastic one. (This may not be allowed right now due to Covid, but it is good information to have in the future.)

Consider buying items second-hand like clothes, household goods, phones, etc. Pre-loved items have the benefit of being more affordable, and the life of the item is extended thus keeping it out of the landfill for longer. The EPA states that landfills comprise 17.7% of all U.S. methane emissions—that’s a lot of rotting garbage.

Is The State Government Helping?

Here in Florida, we are guilty of not recycling as well as we should. With the Energy, Climate Change and Economic Security Act of 2008, The Florida Legislature established a statewide weight-based recycling goal of 75% by 2020. The Legislature also established benchmark recycling goals: 40% by 2012, 50% by 2014, 60% by 2016 and 70% by 2018. Although Florida achieved the goals for 2012 and 2014, we did not meet the 60% goal in 2016. Florida’s 2018 recycling rate was 49%, missing the 70% goal. This report from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection states:

“Recycling in Florida, the United States, and the world has changed significantly over the last 10 years. Many of the challenges we currently face with recycling have occurred as a result of changes in collection methods, recycling markets and the types and quality of materials acceptable for recycling.

Given these challenges and others detailed in the report, the current practices in Florida are not expected to increase the recycling rate. The recycling rate has continued to decline since 2016 to the state’s current recycling rate of 49%. Without significant changes to our current approach, 75% does not appear to be achievable. However, based on ongoing discussions with Florida recycling stakeholders, Florida’s recycling program for 2020 and beyond could transition to a Sustainable Materials Management approach that would more effectively track environmental benefits.

The Legislature could consider laws that allow for the transition to a methodology that incorporates alternative life-cycle metrics; i.e., sustainable materials management goals into Florida’s recycling efforts. While no one single goal can measure the full environmental impact of the materials used from cradle to grave, multiple goals can be set, based upon the environmental attribute(s) that are most important to the state.”

Be More Mindful 

The Florida Legislature appears to be moving in the right direction and facing these challenges with new solutions. It is clear that China’s refusal to continue to accept our contaminated recycling has altered the state of recycling as we know it. Americans—especially Floridians with our vast coastlines and precious marine life—must really begin to self-assess and consider our direct impact on the environment. There are little steps each day that we can take to minimize or be more mindful about our consumption. Head down to the comments below and share with us what you’re doing to reduce, reuse and recycle. Let’s inspire one another to do better. And remember, don’t forget to rinse and dry your yogurt cup!


What Does Sustainability Really Mean?


Chances are, you’ve probably heard this word on social media, at your supermarket on your favorite products, in statements from large corporations who seem anything but eco-conscious. For Eco Eclectic, sustainability is at the very core of our ethos. But what does it really mean, for the world, for us?

What is Sustainability?

The most basic definition would be avoiding the pursuit of actions that deplete the planet’s natural resources faster than they can be replenished. According to the EPA—the Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability is as much a guideline as it is a singular concept.

Global Waste Statistics 2021

While highly developed countries tend to experience population stagnation, a significant part of the world is being lifted out of poverty and is experiencing tremendous population growth. The World Bank estimates that by 2021 waste will triple as a result of population growth.

The 21st century is defined by the explosion in the use of plastics. Many of these plastics end up in our environment and stay there for an eternity in human years. The Atlantic published a thorough piece on the production of plastics since the mid-1900s, citing numerous sources on the matter.

While the contribution of waste to the environment is a complex, multi-faceted problem, one of the main targets are single use plastics that are difficult to recycle.

Some of the most common single use plastics that pollute the ecosystem and harms wildlife are

  • Plastic drink bottles
  • Plastic drink bottle caps
  • Disposable food wrappers and Styrofoam containers
  • Plastic lids
  • Plastic straws, coffee stirrers, etc
  • Food containers

And there are many, many more items that pollute our environment.

Sustainability: Making a Difference from the Ground Up

How do you fix a multivariate problem such as environmental pollution or global warming? You may think the world needs a super genius to come up with a profound solution to the ecological crisis we’re facing, but in actuality, it is the simple effort of everyday people such as ourselves that makes the biggest difference. A small shift in direction of just a degree can change course dramatically over thousands of miles.

Eco-eclectic has made it our mission to embody the spirit of sustainability in everything we do, starting with the very packaging and shipping methods we use to get our products to our loyal customers.

In addition to that, we offer recycling services in Neptune Beach FL to help properly dispose of difficult to recycle everyday items such as detergent bottles, baking soda pouches, Swiffer refills, febreeze cans, stationary, discarded beauty products, etc.

View a full list of our recycling menu here. Even if you are not eligible for our recycling services in partnership with Terracycle and Publix, you can still use the list as a handy resource for knowing what household items you may be using that require some extra consideration for recycling.

Ultimately, offering everyday products such as our zero waste starter kits or our eco-friendly home goods is our way of providing sustainable alternatives to common products that people need in their day to day. These products or services are sold either through our site or from our microshops that we utilize to conserve space, energy, and resources.

Best Eco Friendly Products Neptune FL

What does sustainability mean to you? For Eco-Eclectic, it means many things—including finding creative solutions on the ground-floor of green living to cut our reliance on the wasteful practices regarding single-use plastics and other conveniences that have come at an expense to the environment.

Most of all, it means acknowledging that the small things matter. Choosing eco-friendlier products DOES make an impact, putting extra effort in properly recycling certain products DOES make an impact. Much like the EPA stated, sustainability is just as much a guiding principle as it is a concrete concept to adhere to.

Visit our shop today to check out our offerings or stop by one of our microshops for the best eco-friendly products in Neptune Beach FL!


Your Easy Guide to Recycling

An easy guide to recycling so you can help keep our environment clean

Recycling can be super confusing – between figuring out what items should go in the trash or the recycling, what actually happens to those items after they’re picked up, and deciding whether or not to rinse that yogurt cup out, it can all be mind-numbing. We’re here to give you your guide to recycling and some easy tips for learning what to throw away where.

(Keep in mind that these are relevant as of the date of posting, applicable to the Jax Beach area, and guideline may vary from location to location.)


What’s Up with All Those Numbers?

Many plastic items have a small number in a triangle somewhere on the packaging (usually on the bottom). This number indicates the type of plastic it is, and not how recyclable it actually is. Contact your local recycling or waste hauler to find out what numbers they accept (at the time of writing, the Jacksonville area recycling facilities are accepting #1, #2, #3, #5, and #7 plastics).

There’s a catch though – there’s a LOT of different types of plastics within each number category. While a #1 plastic bottle is widely accepted, #1 plastic strawberry containers often end up in landfills since they’re chemical composition makes them much harder to turn into a new item. Make sure to ask your local facility what types of items they can actually handle. (Scroll down to see a list of do’s and don’ts for the Jacksonville area!)


To Trash Or Not To Trash?

Make sure all items are cleaned and dried before putting them in your curbside recycling bin. Otherwise, they could contaminate an entire batch of recycling and cause it to go to the landfill. This is due to the greasy, oily, moldy, or otherwise gross coatings that occur due to food residue that make it very difficult to turn the item into a new, marketable material.

If the item can’t be cleaned, like a greasy pizza box, or you’re not sure if it can be recycled, it’s better to throw it in the trash (when in doubt, throw it out!) Although this can seem sad or wasteful, it’s important to keep our recycling streams as clean as possible to give those items the best chance at a new life!


Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot, Recycle

We can often get so caught up in the awesome practice that is recycling that we forget that it’s not the best solution for reducing plastic waste or creating a more sustainable society.


The first step to reducing waste is to avoid creating it in the first place. Refuse items when possible – especially paper handouts, unwanted magnets or stickers, or even “sustainable” items and freebies. If you don’t need it, say no – taking that free water bottle communicates to the organizer that people want single-use plastics, and they’ll continue to provide them.


Consciously think out what you need, and avoid buying more food or other items than you really need.


Try repurposing or donating an item that you no longer need – there’s tons of great “upcycling” resources on the web!


Try starting some compost! If you have a yard or garden area, put your fruit and vegetable scraps in a compost pile or container to create some new soil!


Do’s of Recycling in Jacksonville


  • Office + School
  • Mail + Newspapers
  • Magazines + Catalogs
  • Paperback books
  • Paper bags
  • Paper boxes (cereal , crackers, and cookie boxes)
  • Cardboard (don’t be lazy, flatten it)


  • Plastics labeled 1-3,5,7
  • #1 PETE: bottles and food packaging
  • #2 HDPE: Milk jugs, detergents, cosmetics, and cleaners
  • #3 PVC: pipes, some shampoo bottles and cleaners
  • #5 PP: syrup, condiment, and medicine bottles
  • #7: Miscellaneous category


  • Steel containers
  • Aluminum cans and containers

Glass + Cartons

  • Green glass
  • Brown glass
  • Clear glass

Don’ts of Recycling in Jacksonville

  • Straws, bottle caps, and lids. They will clog recycling machines.
  • #4 plastics, thin plastic bags. Grocery stores like Publix usually have a drop off for grocery bags.
  • #6 plastics, Styrofoam (avoid at all cost!)
  • Aerosol cans
  • Batteries
  • Cables/Wires
  • Rubber
  • Food containers with waste or grease residue
  • Food and Yard waste…. perfect for composting though.
  • Don’t bag your recyclable in plastic


Check out our Terracycle program to learn what to do with hard-to-recycle items and see their guide to recycling!


What is Greenwashing?

The Basics

Greenwashing is when a company makes a product seem more eco-friendly, “green”, or sustainable than it really is. This is achieved through marketing and packaging, and leads consumers to believe that a product is doing more good for the planet than it actually is.

Why It’s Bad

Conscious consumers want to choose products that have a positive impact on the environment. They may be looking for products with minimal plastic, eco-friendly packaging, recycled components, or non-toxic chemicals. When companies deceive consumers into thinking their products are more sustainable than they are, they’re betraying their users’ trust and consumers are unknowingly supporting non-environmentally-friendly practices.

How to Spot Greenwashing

  1. Look at ingredients
    Take a peek at the ingredient list or materials list for a product. Does it contain natural fibers like bamboo and cotton, or synthetics like polyester? How about common seasonings, flavors, or fragrances? If you’re unsure about an ingredient, give it a google! Sometimes products use chemical names for common items like salt, but other times those unpronounceable names are oil-based synthetics or harmful cleaning agents.
  2. Find the website
    Take a look at a company’s website to see what their goals are – do they have a mission statement or impact reports detailing where and how their products are made, or what they do with their profits?
  3. Learn about parent companies
    Often, smaller eco-friendly companies will be bought out by larger conglomerates with range of brands – not all of which are eco-friendly. Do a quick internet search of a brand to see if it has been purchased by a larger company, learn what that company’s practices are, and see if they have changed anything about the eco-friendly brand they purchased.
  4. Check for independent verifications
    There’s a whole slew of organizations out there designed to help consumers determine if a product holds their values. Some of these include B Corp, Fair Trade Certified, Leaping Bunny, and websites and apps like Think Dirty that help consumers understand the ingredients in products. While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s a great jumping off point, and these are well known organizations that many companies collaborate with, and use their easy-to-spot logos on their packaging.

What We’re Doing

Here at Eco Eclectic, we vet all of the brands and products that we stock. We carefully read ingredient labels, mission statements, learn about sourcing, and find information from independent analysts to ensure that every product on our site is truly green. We’re also constantly re-evaluating products to ensure that company policies haven’t changed in a direction we don’t approve of. If a company ever stops meeting our standards, we stop carrying them. Period.

Shop Our Guaranteed Green Online Store


The Value In Money

The value of money is in its purchasing power. A pile of money sitting there does nothing, but when it is traded for goods and services, that provides some kind of value to us, that is the power of money.

There is value in money. It is a signaling tool. We buy expensive things because it can signal something to ourselves or to others. We will buy those expensive yoga pants, even if they’re inexpensive to make, because we feel  more comfortable, flexible, and attractive when we wear them. We are placing the value in the way it makes us feel, not the actual item. I have too many “cute” things in my closet that I never wear because although they’re cute, they don’t make me feel cute when I wear them. Some people will buy expensive shoes or jewelry because it signals to others that they have money, therefore they value the social status that comes with the shoes, maybe not the shoes themselves. 

It is true though, that there can also be value in items, and that we can be an avid collector or have a hobby in which the actual item(s) has some kind of sentimental or emotional value to us. Even then, my point still stands that it is the sentimental or emotional value that is so important. Money is traded for value, it itself is not valuable. We often don’t think as far as the value the money we spend provides for us, let alone how our purchasing power affects others and the environment. 

How does the way you spend your money say about what you value?

Money is a powerful tool, and I think we could use it too lightly. We see money as a means to an end, a product, a meal etc, but it can be used for positive change. This is what voting with your dollar is all about, using your money to make a statement about what you value by supporting companies and products by purchasing them. You are placing value on this company, you are investing in it. So, when you purchase that article of clothing , you are communicating to the company that you directly and indirectly support their material sourcing, manufacturing, employee conditions, prices, and end of life disposal. 

Your money supports the life of the product from start to finish, here are 2 examples, the negative impact of supporting single-use plastic and the positive impact of choosing ethical and fairtrade clothing companies.

How purchasing single-use plastics can support the extremely negative affects of pollution

 The negative effects don’t begin in the vending machine. Plastic are made from fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal. The processes to extract these are releasing toxins into our air and waterways and are accompanied by poor and toxic working conditions. The factories where they produce plastics, also release a plethora of nasty things into the world. They then enter our lives and begin to release microplastics, little plastic bits and particles, into our homes, environment, and bodies. They will then be incinerated, which releases large amounts of toxins into the surrounding areas. Plastics are found in water supplies and many species of fish have tested positive for microplastics, many of which humans consume. They are found in agricultural soil which increases the risk that the toxins in the plastics could enter the fruits and veggies we eat through the ground. Plastics are found in our own bodies. Then finally, all the toxins that are released into the air through this entire process are breathed in, affecting our health further, as well as reaching the ozone layer and creating acid rain.

How supporting ethical and sustainable fashion companies can have a positive impact

You walk into the store, see an amazing jean jacket you’ve been dying to have. You then read the label to find that it is ethical and fairtrade, you buy it, happily. At the register the cashier tells you the company allows you to send clothing to them at the end of it’s life so they can reuse and upcycle the materials. 

Let’s track the lifespan of this jacket. Its materials are sustainably harvested by well treated and well paid workers and uses minimal water. The materials are sent to a factory where workers have clean working environments and are paid fairly. The materials are woven together by hand or machine, and then packaged and shipped to its location with the intent and actions of keeping carbon emissions down. It is then advertised and you buy it. When you’re done, you either swap it with a friend, donate it to be reused, or ship it back to the company so they can reuse materials. The company is looking into fabrics that can biodegrade and want to find a way to offset and reduce the carbon emissions from their factory. 

The power of the consumer is very real, and can have social, economic, political, and environmental impacts

  • Individual actions add up.
  • Sustainable options are typically  more expensive, but the more those who can afford it buy it, the less expensive and more affordable it can become.

Cost and convenience are huge factors and are hard to ignore in this consumption driven society. Try to offset those challenges by donating to organizations making environmental, social, and political change. You can also donate to offset your carbon footprint at carbon fund.org or other reputable carbon offset resources. 

Important terms to understand and consider

Voting with your dollar: Supporting companies and their practices by purchasing from them 

Conscious consumerism: Thinking about the impact and systemic effects of purchasing products and supporting companies

Organic: Grown without harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers (that can leach into our water, pollute our air, and degrade the soil). 

Ethical: Businesses build their own set of ethical guidelines that could include sustainable sourcing of raw materials, refusing to use child labor, providing workers with safe and healthy conditions, etc. 

Fairtrade: An institutional agreement between companies and laborers in developing countries to pay them fair wages, provide safe working conditions, and advocates for greater environmental and social standards.

Natural Products: Natural doesn’t always mean better, but natural products can be healthier for you and the planet because they do not contain synthetic ingredients that leach into the body or soil.

Palm Oil Free: Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree and is used as a natural preservative. Palm oil is one of the most sustainable oils, but the way it is being harvested currently, is unsustainable. Palm oil production and consumption drives deforestation and impacts wildlife. Palm oil is found in so many of our products including pizza dough, ice cream, laundry detergent, soaps, and makeup. This is a tricky one, but some companies do use palm oil that is sustainably and safely harvested.

Reducing Meat Consumption: Increased livestock production has led to a dramatic increase in methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide that is released into the air. In addition, many animals are raised and treated inhumanely. 

Buying second hand:  By buying products already in circulation you support the life of the item, the thrift store, and the circular economy of goods. Some thrift stores are run by religious organizations and nonprofits, so you can choose who to support!

Look for Certified B Corporations: Meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental practices, public transparency, and legal accountability. These companies are balancing profits and purpose! (See, it’s possible)

Avoid Greenwashing: Greenwashing is disinformation, typically marketing, making consumers believe that a product or company is environmentally responsible, when in actuality it is not.  

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