Australian Start-up, Voka, addressing the impacts of disposable Covid mask pollution

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COVID waste has generated over 4000 tonnes of disposable mask waste into our Oceans. This problem prompts Australian start-up to develop a high wear, reusable mask which supports US based Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup and their efforts to collect millions of pounds of trash from US beaches.

Voka supports Ocean Conservancy to clean our oceans

Disposable Mask polluting beaches thanks to COVID pandemic

Australian start-up develops high wear reusable mask & supports Ocean Conservancy as oceans flooded with 1.56 billion face masks in 2020.

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The World's oceans are estimated to have been flooded with1.56 billion face masks in 2020. This is an additional 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of marine plastic pollution.

Voka, an Australian ethical apparel label, has developed the contemporary Areca mask to support US based Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to collect millions of pounds of trash that threaten the health of our ocean and the marine wildlife who call it home.

Through their work within the environmental and sustainable sectors, it became apparent to the Voka team that the use of single-use PPE was going to have a huge impact on the environment around us, the Environmental PPE fallout from Covid can be seen all around us and is now being found in our oceans and marine life, noting:

  • Over a billion units of PPE gear distributed throughout the UK alone in 53 days to 18th April 2020
  • January 2021, 90% of the world's population lives in countries that recommend or mandate the use of masks in public

To support solutions to the problem, Voka created the Areca mask which can be washed and reused up to 30 times and is proven to inactivate 99% of microbes within 2 hours of contact. This re-use can mean reducing Covid environmental fallout resulting from single use surgical masks being so widely used and disposed by the general public.

To make this a great product, Voka wanted the Areca to be the most comfortable mask for the most people. For this developed a multi-modal strap system which allows people to choose between 4 different ways of wearing their mask depending on their individual comfort:

  • Below the ear
  • Above the ear
  • Around the ear and
  • Over the head

The product is high quality, with

  • Inner layer of the interchangeable filter made from 100% cotton.
  • The filter is coated with Agion Silver Ion technology which inactivates bacteria and microbes if they come in contact with the mask.
  • The outer layer of the filter is an AATCC 22 certified water repelling polyester which prevents any external water droplets from entering the mask.

Through their commitment to the Ocean Conservancy Champions for Seachange program, choosing the Areca mask by Voka means the public can reduce not only their own single use mask waste, but also the impact of others.

1. https://masks4all.co/what-countries-require-masks-in-public/
2. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/disposable-face-masks-market
3. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52362707
4. https://oceansasia.org/covid-19-facemasks/

Photo Credit: Oceans Asia & Naomi Brannan

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Anthony Petterson
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