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French startup makes items with recycled face masks

Co-founder of Plaxtil, Olivier Civil, shows the transformation of protective face masks into shredded material 'Plaxtil', a combo of plastic and textile, in August 2020   -  
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GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP or licensors

France

Plaxtil, a French start-up company recycles used face masks to make plastic objects.

The masks are first put on quarantine, then cut into small pieces, grinded, disinfected by X-rays and mixed to a substance that binds the fabric to allow the production of plastic items.

An employee detailed Plaxtil-based parts:

"We produce Personal Protective Equipment against Covid, we make visors, visor holders, where you can still see the little fiber of the masks that's there, we've made mask attachments to prevent the elastic from falling on the ear, we've made visors that are a little more industrial, door openers...".

Based in Chatellerault, in western France, the startup originally made plastic objects from textile and quickly adapted to the coronavirus crisis.

"We said to ourselves: it can't be possible, these masks mustn't just end up either in the wild or burned," Olivier Civil, co-founder of the start-up Plaxtil, said.

"We can recycle them, we can make something out of this material, and we can revalorise all that.

France, like other European countries, has massively increasing its face mask production. But many, once used, are left on the streets, beaches and rivers and end up polluting the environment.

This has led to more people wearing reusable masks.

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