Updated: Jul 7, 2020
When the collection of plastic waste from the seabed and the desire to apply a circular economy are the starting point for the conversion of production processes as a means of protection from COVID-19.
A new border of sustainability are the reusable masks against COVID-19 created by the collaboration between PADI, a worldwide diving training association with over 6500 Dive Center and Rash'R, an Irish company promoting environmental friendly clothing.
The initiative was born from the idea of a group of divers with the intention of cleaning up the waters of the oceans in which they dive daily and at the same time safeguarding people's health. For this reason, they have designed these original protection devices created with material collected from the seabed and available in different models and patterns recalling the surroundings, all with interchangeable filters that allow reuse. This plastic recycling process has allowed the disposal of almost 1,276 lbs of plastic waste, which corresponds to about 700 kg. One of the praiseworthy aspects of this initiative is the character of the project, which was created on a voluntary non-profit basis as stated by Lisa Nicklin, vice president of marketing at PADI, actually the masks are sold at production price. Another point is the unexpected number of pre-orders of the devices to underline that consumers have not only bought for personal need but also looking at the environmental impact and recycling of materials.
Facing the Coronavirus emergency there are other many companies, including those in Italy, that encourage circular economy and that have not sit on their hands.
Another case of reinvention of products comes, actually, directly from Lainate a town in the province of Milan, where the company Ideal Plast, leader in Italy in the design and manufacture of objects, artifacts and street furniture in recycled plastic from recycling, has decided to make its contribution by creating in record time durable rubber masks, sanitizable and with the presence of interchangeable filters to limit the parts that cannot be recovered. It has also produced removable bulkheads for offices and shops, taxi barriers, dispensers of sanitizing gels in recycled plastic and self-sanitizing trays created with the addition of silver powders that guarantee the plastic material a natural antibacterial charge that does not run out.
Alessandro Trentini, founder and technical director of Idea Plast said "The Covid emergency has faced many companies with the need to rethink, at least temporarily, their production. When it was clear to everyone the complexity of the situation generated by the spread of Coronavirus, we thought of something that could go beyond the emergency" adding the consideration of the need to start thinking with a circular economy of plastic also addressed to PPE (personal protective equipment) such as disposable gloves and masks, hoping that an idea of recovery will be created also for this material, making sure that the Corona Virus emergency does not distract us from the concept of sustainability creating, in this way, only an emergency in the emergency.