By JAYSON DIMAANO
With COVID-19 cases surging, the trashing of millions of non-medical disposable blue face masks is taking a toll on the environment. Beach resident Kevin Mar decided to do something about it.
“For the longest time, I have been concerned about global climate change, plastic waste, microplastics. I said to myself ‘there has to be a way to develop a mask that doesn’t add to this burden,’” Mar told Beach Metro News.
This led him to create a recyclable and/or compostable face mask which he is now manufacturing in Canada and selling online as Avro Mask.
Mar said he found a sheet material called a cellulose filter which he uses for the masks.
“I got samples, started building prototypes, testing them, seeing how they feel, different geometries,” explained Mar who is an industrial designer.
Originally from Western Canada, he has been living in the Woodbine Avenue and Queen Street East area for the past 25 years.
He said he sees lots of people wearing the blue disposable non-medical masks, which he said are made from a non-woven fabric and are not recyclable.
“The non-woven plastic masks will never be recyclable. They are made of polyester and nylon,” said Mar. “Because of that you are unable to recycle it or reuse it. It is not compostable. Our masks are 100 per cent cellulose filter material and are compostable. Whether the municipalities are comfortable with you putting it in (the recycle bin), at the very least you can backyard compost it.”
The City of Toronto’s position is that all used disposable masks should be put in the garbage. They are not accepted in the city’s recycling or organic waste streams. Your only option in Toronto for a mask that is organic and compostable would be to put it in a home composter.
Along with the 100 per cent cellulose mask body, the Avro Mask uses a 100 per cent cotton lace for the straps and not elastics. The masks are packaged flat, with an origami facet fold that aids in fit and comfort, said an Avro Mask press release.
The printing on the masks is done using vegetable-based non-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) inks and glued using water-based adhesive on the fold-over tabs, said the release.
People ordering the masks have the option to customize them, said Mar.
“On our website, you will see represented samples. They are not our clients, but whether it’s the University of Toronto, Air Canada or the Toronto Raptors, the next time you go do any [group activities], it would be great if the impact [of pollution] to the world is so much less,” he said of the masks he has designed.
To order the masks created by Mar, go to https://avromask.com/.
Masks come in two sizes: youth and adult. For each size, they come in either a pack of 10, which is $20 or a pack of 50, which is $75. For custom masks, you will have to contact Avro Mask through the website for pricing.