Kolon Group, a mid-sized business conglomerate focused on the chemical and textile businesses, has succeeded in a plan to recycle face masks originally designed for single use.
The group installed one-off mask collection boxes at seven major workplaces across the country and provided employees with portable collection bags.
After collecting discarded masks, Kolon recycled them into hangers used at its fashion affiliate’s outlets.
After being mixed with subsidiary materials, the first batch of collected face masks was recycled into about 2 tons of polypropylene pellets and then about 29,000 clothes hangers.
There have been various attempts to recycle polypropylene, a chemical material used in one-off masks. However, it was cumbersome to separate mask components, including mask filters, nose wires and straps.
Kolon launched the mask collection and recycling campaign based on the consideration that about 60 million one-off masks are wasted every month in South Korea.
It takes more than 450 years for these face masks to decompose naturally when discarded. If they are recycled into fine plastics, they could have a negative impact on the ecosystem.
The South Korean company’s move to recycle face masks comes after another company created an Icy puffer jacket from single-use masks to publicise pandemic pollution.
This story was originally published by Korea Bizwire.