South Korean furniture designer Hanuel Kim decided to create the stools when he saw the volume of masks being thrown into landfill he asked, how can I solve this? Every month, 129 billion single use face masks are being used throughout the pandemic. These masks will eventually end up in landfill or in our oceans and will become microplastics, which can seriously harm animals and human life.
Called Stack and Stack (in pandemic, 2020), 1,500 recycled face masks are used to create each stool, with 250 masks used to create the legs and 750 masks required for the seat.
The disposable surgical masks have triple filters which are made of almost 98% polypropylene which melts when heated. These filters are melted into a mould, with each mask stacked on top of each other to create the stools. Kim uses hot air only to melt the masks which means the chairs are made solely from masks, with no need for glue or resin. The white, black, blue and pink colours of the stools comes from the original colours of the masks as they retain their original colour when melted so no dyes are added.
He hopes that his designs can inspire the mass collection and recycling of these recycled face masks so that there can be many people working to solve the problem of what to do with all the waste before it becomes microplastics.
Nadine is the founder and editor of Eco Edition and founder of the Eco Edition Design School. She’s an experienced interior designer, sustainable materials consultant, speaker and serial home renovator.