South Korean student upcycles face masks to design furniture | Lifestyle

UIWANG, South Korea (Reuters) – How many disposable masks does it take to make a chair?

Kim Ha-neul knows it will take 1,500.

The South Korean furniture design student came up with an environmentally friendly solution that is melted down by scrapping disposable face masks, many of which are made from polypropylene, to create stools he calls “stack and stack”.

“Plastic is recyclable. So why don’t we recycle plastic face masks? ”Said the 23-year-old.

In June, Kim set up a mask collection box at his school, Kaywon University of Art and Design in Uiwang City, south of Seoul. Since then he has collected 10,000 used masks and received more than a ton of defective ones from a factory.

To reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, Kim will store them for at least four days. He then removes rubber bands and wires and waves a heat gun over the masks in a mold to melt them down at temperatures above 300 degrees Celsius (570 degrees Fahrenheit).

The result? 18 in. (45 cm) tripod stool, recycled from white, pink, blue and black masks that Kim featured in his graduation exhibition.

Next, Kim hopes to use the recycled masks to make other pieces of furniture such as a chair, table, or some lights. He also urges the government and private companies to recycle face masks by setting up a separate box for their collection.

In September alone, South Korea produced more than a billion face masks for home use, government data showed.

Although the stools are not yet for sale, the fellow students were impressed by the idea and the rough design.

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

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