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These Locally-Made Abaca Face Masks Are Your Eco-Friendly Alternative to Disposables

They're also said to be 7 times more effective than regular cloth masks when it comes to protection.

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Photography: Courtesy of the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA)

Abaca has long been used as a base for textiles, furniture pieces, paper, and many more. In fact, according to the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA), the Philippines provides “87 percent of the world’s requirement” for production, bringing in an average revenue of P4.7 billion annually.

This organic material, however, has seen new purpose in reusable face masks that are much-needed during the COVID-19 pandemic; moving away from plastics and other synthetic materials, it is the PHILFIDA’s goal to push for natural fiber materials when possible.

Misamis Oriental-based social enterprise Salay Handmade Paper Industries Inc. has been partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in late April 2020, producing 1,000 of their eco-friendly 7XB fiber masks for frontliners. These masks have been tested by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) prior to the partnership, and it is said to be seven times more effective than regular cloth masks “when it comes to filtration and protection.”

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If you’re interested in abaca masks and you wish to support this social enterprise, you can read more about them here, and send your inquiries about their products here.

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