Dutch designer Marianne de Groot-Pons was fed up with finding blue surgical masks in the streets, polluting the environment, and has created a brand of biodegradable masks which have seeds in them. She wants those masks to “bloom in the world.”
The brand, Marie Bee Bloom, produces fully biodegradable masks made of rice paper and wool to help reduce the pollution trail caused by the millions of masks discarded every day during the pandemic. These masks are also single-use but they can be planted in the ground, and from them will sprout daisies, petunias, cornflowers, and other flowers common in the meadows of the Netherlands.
After coming across disposable blue masks on the street for weeks, I woke up one morning with the idea of a biodegradable mask with flower seeds insideMarianne de Groot-Pons, graphic designer and founder of Marie Bee Bloom
Whether it ends up in a landfill or in a garden, this mask decomposes without harming the environment. However, only when planted after use does it fulfill its purpose. The seed mixture is stuck between two sheets of rice paper by means of a glue produced from potato starch and water. When planted in the soil and watered, the seeds begin to germinate in about three days until they grow into a small wildflower garden.
Is it possible to do something creative with these masks so that they’re not bad for the Earth? And that was the start of these masks.Marianne de Groot-Pons, graphic designer and founder of Marie Bee Bloom
The masks are now designed and manufactured in a small workshop in Utrecht, near Amsterdam, and sold throughout Europe. In addition to helping reduce pollution and creating an alternative to plastic, which will remain on Earth for hundreds of years and break down into microplastics and later ingested by fish and humans, the designer hopes to grow flowers that help regenerate the environment for bees and other pollinating insects.
The company hopes to expand the offering worldwide but to do so it wants to find seeds that are appropriate and beneficial to each ecosystem and region. Right now, the masks are only sold in Europe and can be purchased online. A pack of five masks costs 15 euros.