As masks have become a staple of our day-to-day look due to the pandemic, people have been getting creative with their designs. Unwilling to compromise on style, people are wearing glitter-glam masks, boldly colored masks, printed masks, and more.
However, the surplus of “mask-cessories,” as well as an abundance of disposable masks, has led to a new source of litter. One year of global, wide-spread mask use has already significantly increased the risk to wildlife who could choke on them or get tangled. On top of that, when they break down into microplastics, the tiny particles can pollute our food and bodies.
Dutch designer Marianne de Groot-Pons decided she was fed up with masks littering the environment after going on a walk and noticing a multitude of masks strewn about outside. In January, she started coming up with concepts for a disposable mask that would help rather than harm biodiversity.
According to de Groot-Pons, her idea is to “bloom the world,” which is the inspiration behind the concept of putting flower seeds between rice paper to produce a biodegradable face covering that can be planted in your garden.
The masks are sold under the name “Marie Bee Bloom,” and have been well received by the market. In five weeks, De Groot-Pons had to move production from mask-making at her kitchen table to employing 30 people to keep up with the demand. Currently, she sells her masks in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, but is expecting to open availability to all of Europe in the next few weeks.