Moo develops recyclable paper face mask

Jo Francis
Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Moo has created a disposable face mask made of paper and produced as a flat sheet thanks to the use of kirigami techniques to create the shaping and ear loops.

Moo: paper mask "for brands who care about employees and customers in a planet-friendly way"
Moo: paper mask "for brands who care about employees and customers in a planet-friendly way"

The face mask has been developed at the online print group’s US operation. 

The masks are made as flat sheets, ready to pop out for assembly by the end user. They can be produced in a range of colours, with custom branding on the front.  

The substrate is a 162gsm cotton paper that is made from recycled t-shirt offcuts. 

The design features flaps that are tucked in to create the shaping for nose and chin fit, while a kirigami technique is used for the side pieces which ‘stretch’ to create ear loops. 

Kirigami is an art form like origami, but involves folding and cutting of paper. 

Moo said it wanted to help tackle the mountain of additional plastic waste being created by disposable non-surgical masks, which are also causing problems entangling wildlife when not disposed of correctly. It claimed that thousands of tonnes of additional plastic waste was ending up in oceans in the form of disposable masks.

Being paper, its masks are 100% recyclable.

The firm is targeting the disposable, single-use masks at customers such as restaurants, grocery stores, retailers, and travel businesses, as well as general workplaces. 

How the masks look after being removed from the carrier sheet

Moo said it had surveyed more than 1,300 consumers about their views on masks, with 69% of respondents saying they cared about masks being recyclable, and 57% believing that PPE will negatively affect the environment.

The survey found that 71% thought that customers and employees would be wearing masks in public spaces for the next three-to-12 months. 

“For brands who care about keeping employees and customers safe in a planet-friendly way, Moo has created an answer,” the firm stated. 

It also commissioned the Rochester Institute of Technology to test the paper mask alongside the typical non-surgical plastic masks that have become commonplace worldwide as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Results indicate similar levels of droplet expulsion for the paper-based mask and the disposable plastic mask, so it might be made from paper but it doesn’t compromise on safety,” Moo said.

The firm does not appear to be using any sort of antimicrobial or anti-viral coating on the paper at the present time. 

Moo also claimed the masks were comfortable to wear thanks to the way they had been designed and the paper engineering techniques used. 

The non-surgical face masks are not classed as PPE.

The masks are available in large and small sizes for adults and children.

Pricing is from $0.99 (72p) per mask, with a minimum order quantity of 100. The price falls to $0.39 on orders of 25,000 or more. 

It wasn’t clear at the time of writing whether Moo’s UK operation would also be producing and selling the paper face masks.


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