Masks are vital in the fight against COVID-19, but they lead to enourmous amounts of plastic waste.
To reduce this waste, designers and companies are coming up with creative ways, to turn waste from masks into something new.
Our Kim Yeon-seung reports
In the first week of 2021 alone, 150 million masks were produced nationwide.
To produce these masks, factories create tons of scraps of fabric as waste.
But just throwing this waste away harms the environment because the plastic in masks takes centuries to break down.
So some have come up with new ideas to cleverly transform these wasted masks into something useful.
Like this social enterprise here.
Tree Planet runs an eco-friendly project, that plants a tree for every plant they sell.
In the past 10 years, they've planted a million trees.
Recently, they have developed a new self-watering flowerpot using recycled KF94 mask fabric and plastic.
"Usually wasted fabric from mask factories is burned. So it pollutes the air and worsens global warming, but we collect this fabric and melt it. We transform it into small pellets, which are again melted to create this flowerpot."
"For this pot, you only need to water the plants once a month. There's an outer pot and an inner pot, and if you put water in the outer pot, the water will slowly seep through into this inner pot."
This art school student is also looking for ways to prevent waste from masks.
"I heard that in a month, 130 billion masks are thrown away worldwide. I thought it would be detrimental if this continues and thought about what I could do."
His solution: melting down the masks and molding them into chairs.
For each chair, he uses roughly 15-hundred masks.
"My creations try to send the message of recycling. I hope more people can listen to what I'm trying to say with this interview, and when they do, I hope more people can come together to think about this issue."
Kim Yeon-seung, Arirang News