RashR pivots to make reusable face masks from ocean plastic

Cork-based supplier to luxury resorts RashR has made a pivot to making reusable face masks from ocean plastic while also raising money for the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association (ILFA).

Since 2017, RashR has been a leading supplier to luxury resorts across the world such as the Four Seasons, Sixth Sense, and Richard Branson’s luxury resort, Necker Island, with its sustainable clothing and accessories for surfers and sailors.

In an effort to think outside the box as a result of a temporary decline in its core business, and in the pursuit of helping out the ILFA as well as the people of Ireland as a whole in the fight against Covid-19, Cork-based RashR is now producing washable eco-friendly facemasks with filters.

“We’re delighted to be working with a number of companies around Ireland and internationally to recreate branded face masks from reclaimed ocean waste for the ‘new now’”

In a win-win for sea animals and humans alike, the company has also forged a partnership with the Professional Association of Driving Instructors (PADI) to make the masks from water bottles that pollute our oceans. The partnership was applauded on Instagram by none other than Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio. Di Caprio is well-known outside of his acting on the big screen for being a devout environmental activist.

€2 of the proceeds per mask go to ILFA

Irish designed facemask with turtles on it.

With the onset of Covid-19 the company is using the materials traditionally used in the production of its rash vests (protective skin clothing for surfers in hot climates), boardshorts and caps, to produce high quality face masks on an industrial scale.

The masks have been manufactured using recycled water bottles and polyester at just under medical grade standard so will not be interfering with the supply of PPE equipment for healthcare workers.

“In response to the current pandemic, we have committed to utilising our wide international network and considerable industry experience to source reliable good quality, eco-friendly materials in the fight against COVID-19 at realistic cost by working directly with top manufacturers,” said RashR founder and CEO Tom Cotter (pictured above).

The masks will be suitable to those in a general work and public environment as businesses slowly begin to open their doors again based on public health guidelines.”

“We chose to donate €2 from every mask sold to the Irish Lung Fibrosis Foundation given the significant number of members suffering from respiratory diseases at the moment, a lot of their members would suffer from symptoms very similar to Covid-19 constantly and with our masks helping to protect the lungs, it felt like a good fit for us,” Cotter said.

Global recycling standards

Irish designed facemask with floral pattern.

Rash’R has teamed up with a number of their European manufacturers to produce the masks– and up to 25,000 can be produced with a lead time of three weeks. Company specific branding is also available.

In addition to conforming with public health guidelines, the masks also meet global recycling standards.

“We’re also delighted to be working with a number of companies around Ireland and internationally to recreate branded face masks from reclaimed ocean waste for the ‘new now’. This is a great option for corporate customers to have their own branded face masks.” he concluded.

The face masks are machine washable and reusable and are manufactured in two sizes – an adult one-size-fits all version and one for children aged 3-10 years. 

Each mask is €19.99 and includes one filter (with €2 per mask donation going to the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association). A Pack of five filters is available also at €7.50.

The face masks have a pocket which is suitable for optional PM2.5 filters which are also supplied by the company.

The five-layer filters are non-woven fabric, activated carbon and melt down fabric to conform to GBT 32610 -2016 standards to filter bacteria, particles, dust and smoke and to increase filtration levels.

Each filter which can be worn for up to eight hours, has been tested to conform with the EPA requirement of having a DOP particle efficiency of 99.7pc or better.

Pictured at top: RashR founder Tom Cotter wearing one of his eco-friendly face masks.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 25 May, 2020