Could hemp counteract COVID? Since the pandemic kicked off, disposable PPE, including face masks, are now a daily essential, and used ones are piling up as a gross little by-product of recent world events. A company in France is working to minimize the PPE footprint due to COVID-19. Geochanvre sells hemp face masks that are — get this — compostable.
Hemp is a wildly versatile material, able to make fabric, building materials and compost. This product is extra appealing because it combines form and function — the masks don’t harbor traces of the coronavirus in its fibers after use. The hemp face masks are sold primarily to customers in Canada and Europe. Perhaps it’s time for the U.S. to climb on board the compostable hemp face mask bandwagon, no?
The masks are intended to reduce plastic-based waste, which is a key component to many single-use protective masks. Geochanvre’s masks are made with a blend of corn and feature a recyclable elastic band. A study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology estimates that 129 billion disposable face masks are used and disposed of every month.
“It’s heresy not to ban polyethylene products, materials that are shipped to all corners of the world. Use local agricultural materials,” Frédéric Roure, founding president of Geochanvre, told Reuters TV. “This is a natural product and will go back into the soil.”
Image credit: Geochanvre, Reuters