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Turning reusable masks systems into a widespread reality - the story of Eta Beta

Turn the reusable mask system into a ubiquitous reality-the story of Eta Beta

As governments scramble to protect frontline workers, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a global personal protective equipment (PPE) arms race. However, although no one questioned the current urgency, we are increasingly worried that this may exacerbate another epidemic: plastic pollution.

The United Nations estimates that 13 million tons of plastic are dumped into the sea every year, and half of the plastic produced globally is used for disposables. According to data provided by the Break Free From Plastic movement, consuming one disposable mask every day within a year will mean that 3 billion masks are produced globally every year. According to the Politecnico di Torino’s estimates, Italy alone will need about 1 billion masks and 5 billion gloves every month during the lifting of the blockade.

But what if people can benefit from a third-party laundry system that has health and safety certified reusable masks?

We have good news for you: Eta Beta, a social cooperative based in Bologna, has developed and tested a system that can do just that!

Eta Beta is working with the Italian Zero Waste Organization to certify an innovative project that protects the health of anyone wearing a mask and reduces the generation of disposable and non-recyclable waste.

Although born during the COVID-19 crisis, the idea of ​​this reusable mask system is based on the previous laundry system used by Eta Beta for reusable diapers, which proved to be a success in nurseries in the Bologna region. The procedures and equipment required for the two systems are the same, and can be adjusted slightly according to user needs and needs.

Eta Beta's plan foresees all types of DM masks (medical equipment), including FFP2/3 masks used in health professionals and medical/hospital settings.

Well-tested and certified reusable mask systems, such as those developed by Eta Beta, can be used to alleviate the excessive reliance on disposable masks by organizations that deal with large numbers of visitors or staff (such as schools, governments, and supranational institutions). Even the hospital.

Eta Beta's reusable mask washing system has been put into use and provides washing services for approximately 800 employees of each of the two companies in Bologna. However, to expand and replicate zero-waste business models such as Eta Beta, public intervention is required. This means adopting waste prevention measures and economic incentives for these recycling systems to overcome barriers to entry into the EU market, which is currently flooded with linear systems and discarded products.

Help us turn the reusable mask system into a ubiquitous reality-contact news@zerowasteeurope.eu to:

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Join the fight for a plastic-free world:

To get rid of plastic, we choose re-use exercise to get rid of plastic reusable personal protective equipment exercise

Zero Waste Europe fully recognizes the seriousness of COVID-19. In this challenging time, the health and safety of all people is of paramount importance, and we stand with all communities affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Learn more in our frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and zero waste.

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Joint Press Release: The Broad Alliance urges the European Parliament to protect consumers from dangerous or illegal products sold through Amazon and AliExpress' online marketplace. -15/07/2021 "Chemical recycling" design stifles upstream innovation-12/07/2021 Harmful chemicals in food packaging put our health at risk-29/06/2021

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