Udayavni Special

Mangaluru activist comes up with eco-friendly masks embedded with seeds


Team Udayavani, Apr 23, 2021, 2:36 PM IST

Nithin Vas, a Mangaluru based social entrepreneur, and an environmental activist has come up with eco-friendly masks made up of cotton rags that contain seeds of fruits and vegetables.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the increasing usage of masks and their disposal has become a serious concern as the most common sight is, masks being discarded everywhere.

Nithin Vas, founder of Paper Seed has come up with a unique mask that will not only protect you from the virus, but when discarded off, it will bloom into a plant as the mask is embedded with seeds of fruits and vegetables.

In a telephonic interview with Udayavani.com, Vas explained that cotton masks are made from recycled rags. He said that the outer cover is made from cotton pulp utilizing various scrap materials collected from the garment industries. The inner linings are made from soft cotton cloth which is thick enough and effective to prevent infection.

Paper seed has been making various recycled and plant seed goods since 2017 and started experimenting with masks when the pandemic hit.

Speaking about the idea behind the mask, Vas asserted that masks are essential for humans but they are also creating problems for other species and as we see them lying on the streets and ending up in landfills, but forget that it also ends up in rivers and oceans creating irreparable damage.

Despite being made from cotton, the masks are single-use only which means that once used the mask needs to be thrown in the soil. Following which water it a little and in a few days it may grow into a plant.

These masks are not as soft as surgical masks but are durable. It is not recommended to wash these eco-friendly masks as the cotton pulp with which the mask is made, may get dissolved.

The eco-friendly mask is priced at Rs 25 per piece. These masks are not cheap compared to other single-use masks we find in the market, but we need to consider that each of the masks is handmade in a laborious process.

These masks have already made a buzz on social media and on being asked how the response is, Vas hesitantly said that they are short on staff to provide bulk orders to places afar because of which they even had to say no to order from Hyderabad.

A total team of four, Paper Seed can produce a maximum of 10,000 masks at a time.

These masks are made using eco-friendly materials and don’t involve an industrial setup. They are hand made and hence the company cannot roll out hundreds of products as compared to huge factories. Talking about the process of making these masks, Vas explains that the process to create pulp and make sheets itself takes around eight hours, followed by another 12 hours for it to dry.

Then the masks are cut out by hand using stencils and stitched.

Although the company is much more than just making eco-friendly products as the main project is generating employment in and around Pakshikere of Dakshina Kannada district.

 

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