COVID-19 has exposed just how much disposable plastic waste is produced by the medical industry and personal protection, waste alone increased over 9000%. However, climate change, wildfires, and future healthcare needs all require high air filtration efficiency materials for personal protection. Only a fraction of this waste needs to be improperly disposed to end up in the ocean and soil, where the plastic can shed into micro- and nano-plastics.
Even when they are landfilled, disposable masks can take hundreds of years for them to decompose. In addition, as these plastics are petroleum based, increased usage of masks and filters continues to be a significant source of carbon emissions in the healthcare industry.
4C Air has developed Ecospire™ to address the waste and carbon emissions from medical consumables. Made entirely from plant matter, Ecospire™ is the world's first biodegradable filtration material that has high air filtration efficiency (N95-level) suitable for usage in masks and other filters (patent pending).
Plants take up CO2 from the air to grow, which can then be converted into bioplastics and further manufactured into products, like utensils and packaging. 4C Air uses its proprietary nanotechnology to transform these bioplastics into high air filtration efficiency nanofibers. On the other hand it takes a significant amount of energy and greenhouse gas emissions to process the fossil fuels into the plastics that make up traditional masks and filters. The CO2 emissions from producing the raw materials alone can reduced as much as 80% for Ecospire™ when compared to traditional masks.
Another significant advantage is that Ecospire™ can be degraded by microbes in standard composting facilities, completely disintegrating within 1 month (passing ASTM D6400 and undergoing BPI certification), which makes it a zero-waste solution to the enormous plastic waste crisis that the world is facing. Medical and plastic waste has seen huge increases since the beginning of COVID-19 and will only increase in the future, and Ecospire™ is a step towards the future of carbon neutral and zero-waste personal protection.
4C Air has created Ecospire™ filter inserts for Flo Mask, an ergonomic and reusable filter housing. Flo Mask and 4C Air are both U.S. BARDA Mask Innovation Challenge finalists who aspire to change mask designs. Together, Flo Mask and 4C Air can create a comfortable and zero-waste solution to personal protection.
Ecospire™ filters will be available on the Flo Mask website starting August 2022. Please check our social media pages for more updates. For other inquiries, please contact us.