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Masks Made From Banana-Tree Species Cut Covid’s Plastic Waste

  • Abaca fiber repels water better than traditional face masks
  • Philippine producers double output on demand for medical gear
Abaca fiber grading
Abaca fiber gradingSource: Dragon Vision Trading

Fiber from a relative of the banana tree could replace plastic in millions of face masks and hospital gowns the world is making to fight the coronavirus.

Abaca -- a fiber from the Philippines used in teabags and banknotes -- is as durable as polyester but will decompose within two months, said Philippine fiber agency head Kennedy Costales. “With this pandemic, if we all buy masks made of synthetic fiber, they will pile up in dumpsites because they take so long to decompose,” he said.