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South Korean Student Solves Face Mask Pollution By Up-Cycling Waste Into Useful, Artsy Furniture Pieces



The mask up ideology has created an onslaught of disagreements across the globe. However, the topic on it’s effects on the planet have only been partially addressed.  While reusable masks have grown in popularity, there is still a large amount of waste that gets left aside framing riverbanks, sidewalks, and funneling through sewage banks.   




Disturbed by the amount of waste created by disposable face masks, South Korean furniture student, Kim Ha-neul set out on a creative yet productive solution. His plan was to inspire students to recycle their facemasks as a way to protect the environment while creating stools that would be known as “Stack and Stack.”   


“Plastic is recyclable, so why don’t we recycle face masks, which are made of plastic?” Kim wondered.   




In June, Kim set up collection boxes where he’d accumulate up to 10,000 discarded face masks. To prevent any risks of viral transmission, he waited four days before emptying out the boxes. After this waiting period, Kim would remove the wires and elastic bands before using a heat gun to melt them down into malleable material  




The results of his work were the creation of three-legged stools ranging from white, pink, blue and black masks. Not only did he create reusable furniture, but he also showcased them during his graduation exhibit. He hopes to create a variety of furniture in the future from the collection of face masks and other forgotten belongings.   


“It has such a strong message,” said art student Park Sung-chan, 20. “This will remind us what we’ve been through in 2020 with the coronavirus and is also environmentally friendly.”  


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