Compostable Hemp Face Masks Fly Off the Shelves in Europe

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As disposable face masks are littered and continue to pile up around the world, one France-based company called Geochanvre is tackling the issue head-on. Geochanvre sells compostable hemp face masks to do its part to solve the problem of disposal mask waste amid COVID-19. 

Consisting of a corn blend intended to provide added comfort, and a recyclable elastic band, the face masks are a great biodegradable item with an appeal for their earth-friendly features. According to a September 11 report, the company sold around 1.5 million masks since launching the item last March.

Geochanvre’s hemp masks are designed to help reduce plastic-based waste, including the materials used in some face masks. The majority of single-use protective gear is made from materials such as polypropylene, polythene and vinyl.

“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.”

According to a study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, an estimated 129 billion disposable face masks and 65 billion gloves are used every month. Most end up in the trash—eventually making their way into the oceans or in landfills.

Adding to the product’s appeal, single-use protective gear is ideal as they don’t harbor traces of the virus in the fibers after use. Most of Geochanvre’s customers come from Europe and Canada.

Hemp can be used for a number of different uses, ranging from hempen homes, sometimes built from HempCrete, to an assortment of linens and industrial materials.

According to a campaign called Waste Free Oceans—disposable plastic masks can take up to 450 years to decompose. Using industrial hemp to develop masks is one of the many ways that the plant can help save the environment.

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