Disposable masks have been circulating around since the COVID pandemic started, reminding us that disease transmission is just one of the issues we are currently facing in the world. As a reaction to this, and in an attempt to change the course of the environment with little steps, Marianne de Groot-Pons, a graphic designer, created Marie Bee Bloom to make 100% biodegradable COVID-protective face masks festooned with flower seeds that should spring up wherever the masks are discarded.
In an effort to combat single-use plastic, these new seed-filled masks will bloom once discarded. The biodegradable rice paper masks are filled with a Dutch meadow mix of asters, cornflower, and dill. The masks themselves are simple, made of rice paper filled with flower seeds and printed with biodegradable ink in a sheltered workshop in the Netherlands. Since demand has outstripped the capability of the original workshop, the woolen cords are made out of hand-processed sheep’s wool and machine-spun sheep’s wool from Sweden. Although they have not been properly tested, the brand claims that the safety provided by these biodegradable flower-bomb masks is “as good (or bad) as homemade fabric masks.”
A statement on Marie Bee Bloom’s website declares the following:
“In all the years I’ve been working as a graphic designer, I’ve also polluted the earth with my designs for prints and packaging, so I want to do something for the earth. At the same time, I want to bring the subject of ‘roaming and sinking disposable plastic and the ban on it from 1 July 2021’ back into the spotlight. After stumbling for weeks over all the blue disposable masks on the street, I woke up one morning with the idea of a biodegradable mask with flower seeds inside.”
De Groot-Pons hopes to reduce the glut of single-use plastics spreading alongside the disease by introducing these biodegradable masks. She also wants to atone for her decade at the consumer goods company Unilever, which produces tens of thousands of tons of plastic waste per year.
The masks are currently only available in Europe due to the flower seeds, which are a Dutch meadow mix including asters, cornflower, coreopsis, gilia, gypsophila, and dill. Marie Bee Bloom is studying what kind of native plant species can be used to make the masks adaptable to their respective habitats rather than invasive as they seek to grow into various foreign markets.
While it might not fix all of the issues, whether viral or environmental, it’s encouraging and somewhat refreshing to see a designer using her skills to do more than just push consumerism in the pandemic.
Read more on other masks we’ve tried and loved.
Photos via Yanko Design