The extensive use of face masks and other essentials required amid the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to environmental challenges. Face masks have been the primary personal protective equipment (PPE), and therefore, their demand has significantly increased on a daily basis.
This makes it all the more important for people to focus on their consumption habits in the best way possible and without affecting the environment. In terms of masks usage, good and sustainable masks should be the first approach.
A Mangaluru- based company, PaperSeed Co, has been addressing the environmental issue by making seed-based products, including masks, The Indian Express reported.
Founder Nitin Vas informed that the company aimed to provide a sustainable and eco-friendly substitute to the current masks available in the market. Vas introduced the biodegradable masks earlier in March.
The outer cover is made from cotton pulp using various scrap materials collected from the garment industry. The inner linings are made from soft cotton cloth, thick enough to provide protection.
The cloth has seeds embedded in them and are of one-time use. After using, one needs to throw them in the soil, water them, and in a few days, it grows into a plant.
"We start from creating pulp and making it into sheets, which takes around eight hours, followed by another 12 hours to dry. Each mask is then cut out by hand using stencils and stitched," Vas was quoted as saying.
Employment For Rural Natives
The people involved in the making of the products are women and youths living in remote villages. The firm used raw materials available in these areas.
Vas said the masks were earlier distributed for free for a while, but later a certain cost was added to it (₹ 25). They were creating job opportunities for the rural people. Vas said they had received more orders from abroad than from India. Founded in 2017, the company produces several recycled and plant seed products.