Canadian forestry invents biodegradable mask filter, aims for full mask by Christmas

OTTAWA — A Quebec-based forestry innovation organization says it has figured out how to make a single-use face mask filter out of fully-biodegradable wood products.

Stéphane Renou, the president of FPInnovations Inc., says it could be a game-changer for the environment and for a made-in-Canada supply of masks.

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Earlier this year an article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology estimated that during COVID-19 the world is throwing out 129 billion face masks every month, some of which become litter that eventually washes into oceans.

Currently the vast majority of disposable face masks are made out of two outer layers with a filter between them, all made from woven plastic fibres.

Renou says over eight weeks this summer 20 FPInnovations employees created, tested and then perfected a filter made entirely from various wood pulps, that can block 60 per cent of small particles.

He says they are now working on the two outer layers and hopes to have a full mask completed by the end of the year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020.

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