BANANA masks may be a solution to the problem with plastic face masks, and this product decomposes in a month.
COVID-19 will stick around for quite some time and wearing a mask is one of the very few things we can do to protect ourselves from the invisible enemy. Experts from the CDC suggest that a good handwash and social distance can be of great help, too.
The coronavirus pandemic broke in March and destroyed our economy and education. Homeschooling didn’t provide the desired effect and millions of people lost their job. Smaller retailers had to close their doors and hope for a better future. You may not have an urge to buy a new dress or jacket, but you have to buy food and toilet paper right? Experts marked an increased demand for these items.
The coronavirus may be a threat to humans but nature blooms like never before. Pollution in cities has reduced and animals have reclaimed their kingdom. You saw all the animals roaming freely in big city streets, right?
Governments have encouraged people to practice safe distance. We can’t leave our homes without wearing a mask, right?
Have you ever considered wearing a banana mask?
Abaca trees belong to the banana tree family and thrive in the Philippines. In 1925, the United States Department of Agriculture planted Abaca in Central America. Abaca plantings increased the output in WWII. Today, the Philippines produce the most Abaca fiber.
Professionals turn Abaca fiber into saltwater-resistant ropes. About 30% of the composition of banknotes in Japan are made with Abaca. The fiber is also used in Mercedes-Benz automobiles.
Companies in China, India and Vietnam use Abaca fiber to make masks.
Protective face masks and other disposable healthcare items have a terrible effect on the environment. We’ve seen these float in ocean waters.
“If we all buy masks made of synthetic fiber, they will pile up in dumpsites because they take so long to decompose,” head of the Philippines fiber agency Kennedy Costales said.
Abaca fiber masks decompose within two months. The Philippines Department of Science and Technology explains that N-95 masks made with Abaca fiber have pores within the regulations provided to prevent infection by the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Unlike plastic N-95 masks, Abaca masks are more water-resistant.
“People see this pandemic lasting for some time,” said Firat Kabasakalli, general manager of Dragon Vision trading. “Even small companies are trying to make protective equipment, which requires our fiber. We are getting a lot of inquiries from new clients abroad.”
Bloomberg’s recent report suggests that “Covid-19 could increase plastic packaging intensity, undoing some of the early progress made by companies.” Single-use face mask marked one of the biggest spikes in plastic-based products.
The Philippines don’t have enough Abaca to match the demand. “Abaca is like precious gold for the Philippines, but it’s been often overlooked,“ said Costales. “This is a missed opportunity for us.“
Neil Francis Rafisura, the general manager of Salay Handmade Products Industries Inc., sees this as an important opportunity.
“The awareness of consumers now is higher when it comes to taking care of the environment, there are people who will pay a premium for environmentally friendly products.”