Shortly after face masks became part of our wardrobes, they began littering our public spaces. The same gear that helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19 can harm the environment when not disposed of properly. As Prestige reports, a Dutch designer has come up with an alternative to conventional disposable face masks that's as good for the planet as it is for you.
The Marie Bee Bloom biodegradable face mask is meant to be planted in the ground when you're done using it. It doesn't contain any plastics or materials that won't break down outside. The strings are plain wool and the mask itself is made from rice paper. Instead of glue, the components are held together with potato starch.
The delicate material means the mask isn't reusable, but its usefulness extends past its wearability. An old mask is capable of taking on new life—literally. Flower seeds are embedded in biodegradable fabric, so when you bury the mask in the ground you're also giving plants the chance to sprout.
The product is the brainchild of Marianne de Groot-Pons, a graphic designer based in the Netherlands. According to her website, she felt inspired to design an eco-friendly face mask after seeing blue surgical masks littering the streets everywhere she went. Plantable masks may not be able to replace the protective gear we wear on a daily basis, but they may push people to think hard about what happens to their masks when they're done using them.
Marie Bee Bloom face masks are available to purchase in packs of five, 10, and 15. You can buy them for roughly $3.50 apiece from MarieBeeBloom.com.