From Trash PPE To New PPE

As the coronavirus pandemic circles the world, a fact of daily life for millions of people has become the wearing of a face mask. Some people sport colorful fabric masks, but for many, this means the ubiquitous Chinese disposable mask. They have become the litter of our time, which as [blorgggg] notes is something that shouldn’t have to be the case. Their plastic can be recycled and made into other useful things, for example, ear savers similar to the ones many of us were 3D printing earlier in the year.

As you might imagine diving into a pile of used masks can be a little unhygienic, so the first step is to disinfect with alcohol. Then the various layers can be separated and the outer polypropylene ones collected and stacked between baking parchment to be melted on a skillet. The result is a polypropylene sheet that can be laser cut if it is thick enough, and from this are cut the ear savers. It’s not quite as neat a cut as the acrylic sheet we may be used to, but it’s adequate for the task.

While on the subject of masks, earlier in the year we presented a series in whose first part we dissected a selection.

19 thoughts on “From Trash PPE To New PPE

  1. This is an awesome hack, but long term O really don’t think we should still be relying on basic masks when the case count is still rising.

    I use an Ultramasx (Upgraded from my Broad AirPro), with active HEPA filtration, because I ride the bus.

    They’re better than nothing, and they provide source control, but ultimately they’re hot, they get damp, they fog glasses and sunglasses, they prevent lip reading by the hard of hearing, and we really need something better. The Ultramasx is almost perfect, but it muffles sound and doesn’t have quite enough flow to be completely as comfortable as no mask at all.

  2. What about using reusable masks? Like cotton-based masks that can be washed

    For the rest of PPE, it could be washed (it is done in Africa for instance) provided it is made of a sufficiently resistant material (some PPE is very fragile)

  3. Hello,
    An info :
    A French consumer organization has conducted several tests of masks. “Que Choisir”

    I won’t go back over the results but an interesting thing was found; a Kleenex handkerchief (the small pocket) inserted behind a handmade or cotton mask makes it surprisingly very effective.
    Since then, I have been using this system every day.

  4. The the coronavirus pandemic *does not* circle the world, as a matter of fact you can slice the globe in half (but not aligned with the equator) and one (mostly southern) hemisphere has almost no active cases and only a couple of thousand dead in total, most of whom were over 80 years of age and would have died of the flu anyway. Coincidently in Australia we have had no flu circulating since around April 15th 2020 and the only big covid breakout mostly killed very old people. Strange but true. All this focus on masks is interesting because it contrasts markedly with the fact that (other than extreme) age most of the risk factors for covid-19 mortality are manageable through changes in diet and lifestyle. Yep if you don’t want to get seriously ill then the thing you should be hacking is your lifestyle and your diet, because a mask only protects you from a statistical point of view, the virus will get you eventually if you are living in a hot-zone.

      1. I didn’t say the southern hemisphere, read what I did write, carefully, and yeah I did check with google earth and the worldometer covid stats. Just because a fact is strange it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.

    1. Wait, so if I live in one of your so-called “hot zones,” I will get it “eventually” regardless of diet and lifestyle? And what diet and lifestyle is this anyway? Vegemite sandwiches? Lamingtons?

      Did you post this to Hackaday by accident? I assume you were looking for the comments section of Youtube.

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