Europe's 'first compostable face masks'
could reduce a mountain of waste
from single-use protective gear
which could take up to 450 years to decompose
Source: Waste Free Oceans
Courtesy: Laurent Lombard / Operation Mer Propre
129 billion single-use masks are used each month
Source: Environmental Science and Technology Journal
Most are made from plastics
// such as vinyl, polypropylene, and polythene //
This factory says hemp is the solution
Location: Lezinnes, France
No other products are needed to filter air
and the elastic band is recyclable
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FOUNDING PRESIDENT OF GEOCHANVRE, FREDERIC ROURE, SAYING:"We can clearly see that when our masks go into the compost, they are going back to nature, and they will deteriorate quickly. Put the hemp in the ground, 3 months, 6 months later, there is nothing left. It is food for the earthworms. We don't see that with these (surgical) masks, we are left with pieces of the blue plastic."