Scientists develop technology that can recycle masks into school chairs


The UK’s National Health Services Authority (NHS) uses technology that makes school chairs and other things from personal protective equipment (PPE) waste such as COVID masks and medical curtains, developed by Cardiff-based Heat Squeeze Group, where machines can compress bags of personal protective equipment. In large plastic blocks reusable within an hour.

According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, these three-foot-long blocks can then be collected and processed, providing raw materials for making a variety of other products including tool boxes and school chairs.

The technology was also specifically designed to compress polypropylene, a plastic material commonly used in personal protective equipment, and reduce the volume of waste by 85%. Thermal heating machines were installed in five NHS hospitals, including Royal Gloucestershire and Royal Hospital. Cornwall in Truro.

The Heat Pressure Group said that an additional 11 hospitals are also set to receive their recycling machines in the near future.

Experts have estimated that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK alone uses about 53 million disposable face masks per day.

“We are taking what has been identified as a single-use plastic from a waste stream that is too costly to the NHS,” said Matt Rapson, environmental director of the Heat Press Group.

Rapson added, that recycling machines recover the plastic and engineer it back into an inert source of polypropylene that is then reused in multiple products.


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