Thousands of surgical masks recycled then metamorphosed into plastic before being reincarnated into visors or door openers: this is what the Plaxtil company, in Châtellerault (Vienne), has been offering since mid-June to curb the pollution caused by these disposable masks.
After confinement, “we saw the arrival of masks and especially the pollution linked to these masks, they were everywhere, in the streets, in nature“, Olivier Civil, 50, co-director of the young start-up specializing in textile recycling, told hooly News.
This pollution caused by these disposable masks composed of microfibers of polypropylene, a plastic, and which are not biodegradable, was not “inevitable” for the fifty-year-old and his partner Jean-Marc Neveu.
The Châtelleraudaise company, which works alongside a group of SMEs specializing in plastics, claims “circular, ecological and inclusive“Already specialized in recycling, she has perfected a process for transforming these masks which have become ineffective and harmful to health and the environment.
First, the collected masks are placed in “quarantine“for 4 days by the Audacie company with which the company collaborates.”Normally only two days are enough, but we remain cautious“, explains Mr. Civil.
Then at Plaxtil, the masks pass “at the grinder“before rushing 30 seconds into a”ultraviolet tunnel“to ensure complete and reliable decontamination.
“It is recognized as the best germicide“, affirms Olivier Civil who works with Uvimobi, a company specializing in the decontamination of shared transport vehicles with ultraviolet solutions.
“50,000 recycled masks”
Last step, “we mix this material with a resin which will allow it to become a hard material“, he adds without further details, the remaining process”secret and protected“.
Once recycled, the plastic can be used to make all types of objects, by molding.
“the possibilities are limitless“, specifies Mr. Civil, even if for the moment the start-up, strong of five employees, relies on useful products to fight against the coronavirus such as protective visors or door openers, a small instrument not to touch a doorknob.
The Plaxtil company already has “recycled more than 50,000 masks“, points out Mr. Civil, thanks in particular to the multiplication of collection points.”In the beginning, we targeted the medical community, such as pharmacies or medical offices“. Faced with the interest that the initiative has aroused, many businesses have embarked on fundraising.
Since the end of June, between 2,000 and 3,000 products made from these disposable masks have been produced.
The company is supported by the community of the agglomeration of Grand Châtellerault “committed to the prevention and reduction of waste“, which financed the start of the activity.
This initiative “has been part of our circular economy objectives from the start“, rejoices the elected Evelyne Azihari, in charge of the energy policy of Grand-Châtellerault.
In the face of success, “we are wondering how to generalize our initiative. We have requests from all over France. The Ministry of the Economy and Finance contacted us to see if we were ready to join forces to create a mask recycling channel“, specifies the co-director.
At the beginning of September, products made from recycled masks will be handed over to the town hall so that they can be distributed free of charge to employees of the community, or to associations.
Created Aug 31, 2020