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Scuba diving group makes face masks from recycled ocean plastic

Source: Twitter/PADI

With the sudden spike in plastic waste due to discarded coronavirus PPE, one scuba diving organisation is swimming against the plastic tide by making reusable, washable, and sustainable face masks from recycled ocean trash.

Protecting public health and the oceans: PADI Creates Face Masks from Recycled Ocean Plastic

In a win-win for sea animals and humans, PADI®, the world’s largest diver training organisation, has introduced an innovative range of ocean-friendly reusable face masks to help people care for the ocean when purchasing cloth face coverings. The group is turning plastic water bottles that once polluted oceans into face masks for people to protect themselves against the coronavirus. 

Each reusable mask costs $20.40 and comes with five replacement filters. The price reflects the cost it takes to make each mask, PADI says on its website.
The face masks are made by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), in partnership with Rash’R, a company that sells eco-friendly active wear. Each reusable mask costs $20.40 and comes with five replacement filters. The price reflects the cost it takes to make each mask, PADI says on its website. Source: Padigear

PADI and its partners have removed and reused more than 575 kg of ocean plastic

PADI®, the world’s largest diver training organisation, has introduced an innovative range of ocean-friendly reusable face masks to help people care for the ocean when purchasing cloth face coverings. — reported Scubaverse

The company has teamed up with their rash guard partner, Rash’R, to offer masks manufactured from plastic bottles recycled from the ocean. These masks contribute to the removal of plastic pollution from the ocean while helping to meet consumer demand for face masks during the pandemic.

Available through the PADI Gear collection of earth-friendly apparel and accessories, the new cloth face masks are dual layered, reusable and washable at high temperature. They feature a filter pocket for PM 2.5 carbon filters and each mask is packaged with five reusable carbon-activated filters which each last for around eight hours. Additional replacement filters can be purchased on their website.

Source: Scubaverse

The masks come in five different designs based on sea animals such as whale sharks, manta rays and great white sharks. Based on the number of current orders, the masks have helped remove and reuse 1,267 pounds of ocean waste.
There is even one made to fit children ages 4-10 The masks come in five different designs based on sea animals such as whale sharks, manta rays and great white sharks. Based on the number of current orders, the masks have helped remove and reuse 1,267 pounds of ocean waste. Source: Padigear

PADI Gear is not making any profit from the sale of the masks – the price paid is the actual cost.

PADI’s greatest priority has always been the safety of divers around the world. We care about the health of the ocean and dive community, so we wanted to be able to put our hands on our hearts and say that we’re not profiting from this difficult time,” said Lisa Nicklin, PADI Worldwide Vice President of Consumer Marketing.

We wanted to give divers an opportunity to make a difference in an issue that, as ocean lovers, we care deeply about – plastic pollution.”

Using an alternative to medical grade masks means increasing the chances hospital staff, care and other essential workers will have access to the important safety equipment they need to carry out their work.

To date, based on the number of face masks purchased, PADI and its partners have removed and reused more than 575kg (1267lbs) of ocean plastic.

PADI Gear face masks are available in adult and child sizes and feature a variety of different patterns depicting marine life.

Source: Scubaverse

Buying reusable face masks like the ones PADI sells allows people to protect themselves while reserving the N95 respirator masks and surgical masks for the health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
PADI hopes to take some of the the pressure off the front lines. Buying reusable face masks like the ones PADI sells allows people to protect themselves while reserving the N95 respirator masks and surgical masks for the health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Source: Padigear

Amount Of Plastic Waste Surging Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

You have probably heard or read or even noticed that ever since the COVID-19 lockdown measures, the air and water all around the planet has become cleaner, and nature is recovering worldwide. 

However, it’s important to remember that a lot of the personal protective equipment (PPE), the masks and gloves and other medical equipment, is plastic, and much of it is being thrown carelessly away. When PPE gets discarded in public areas, it ends up clogging drains and washing into waterways.

What’s more, some members of the plastics industry are taking advantage of the fear and uncertainty around the pandemic to push suspensions or rollbacks of hard-won environmental measures to reduce plastic pollution. They’re claiming “an abundance of caution” as the reason to reinstate widespread use of single-use plastic bags. 

Ocean Conservancy scientists worry that if the temporary rollbacks to plastic bans become permanent, it could undermine efforts to reduce single-use plastics and increase ocean plastic pollution going forward. According to the non-profit, plastic bags are devastating for the ocean. They are consistently among the top 10 items collected by volunteers with Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup. They are also among the deadliest forms of marine debris and can persist for decades or longer in the environment.

While plastics such as gloves, masks and other medical equipment are important for protecting front line workers, this pandemic is a reminder of how much waste we produce and how we manage or mismanage it.

Source: Forbes

“We are not profiting from this product,” said Lisa Nicklin, vice president of consumer marketing at PADI. “We’re very much a heart-and-soul organization. We care about the ocean and our diver community, so we wanted to be able to put our hands on our hearts and say that we’re not profiting off this difficult time.” Source: Padigear
“We underestimated how popular they would be,
With 15,000 masks already pre-ordered, PADI and Rash’R have had to quickly ramp up production to meet demand. “We underestimated how popular they would be,” Nicklin told CNN. “I think (consumers) just felt that it was a great thing to do for the ocean while also buying something that they need.” Source: Twitter/PADI

Important reminder

No mask guarantees protection from coronavirus, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people wear face masks in public settings to slow the spread of the disease. As with any personal protective equipment, it is important to follow local and national recommendations for use. Masks are not a replacement for other COVID-19 mitigation techniques like social distancing and washing hands. 

Masks can be pre-ordered at PADI’s American and UK stores. Production and delivery may take up to three weeks. 

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