Vietnamese Company Creates World’s First Biodegradable Coffee Face Mask

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ShoeX, a Vietnam-based footwear company that has created coffee shoes, has just launched its new product line of coffee face masks. Called AirX, the face mask is made from Vietnamese coffee beans and is reusable, biodegradable and antibacterial. The company hopes that it will help protect people from the coronavirus without further burdening the planet.  

Founded in 2019, ShoeX is a Vietnamese-Candanian footwear company that creates shoes out of coffee. But now, it is taking its coffee project further to develop biodegradable, reusable and antibacterial face masks using Vietnamese coffee beans

The new face mask line will be called AirX, and is now available for retail online. ShoeX says that its current capacity is at 10,000 masks daily to match global demand. 

The company decided to create the new eco-friendly and reusable mask alternative in order to halt the mounting waste and plastic pollution created by the prevalent use of disposable face masks during the pandemic. 

While a vital tool in combating the spread of the virus, many environmentalists have pointed out that it is quickly becoming a major contributor to marine and landfill waste. In late February, Hong Kong marine conservation group OceansAsia made headlines documenting images of disposable surgical face masks littered on the city’s coastlines and waters.

Disposable Mask Beach Litter
Source: OceansAsia / Naomi Brennan

“AirX is not just a recommendation to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but preserve the planet as well,” said founder of ShoeX Thanh Le. 

Not only will it reduce the waste crisis exacerbated by the use of disposable face masks, AirX masks are naturally antimicrobial. According to the company, the coffee face masks are developed with 99.99% dual antibacterial technology – the first layer composed of a coffee yarn and the second being a biodegradable filter created using coffee and silver nanotechnology. It has been approved by the AATCC 100 certification, the textile industry’s standard for antimicrobial performance in the United States. 

Users of the mask can wash it after every use, while the inside biodegradable filter does not need to be washed but can be replaced monthly

Experts have reiterated that until a vaccine or cure is developed for Covid-19, it is unlikely that we will be able to ditch face masks when in public. The creators of AirX therefore envision further improvements to their product to come. 

“For the next development, we have successfully embedded technology in producing recycled AirX coffee masks with N95 feature, the product will be launched soon to the demanding market,” shared Le. 

Source: ShoeX

Gary Stokes, the founder and director of OceansAsia recently spoke to Green Queen about the spike in ocean plastic pollution due to disposable face masks. He believes that the general public should begin ditching disposable masks for reusable options.

“At the beginning, there had been a panic. Now there are many companies making reusable masks and the government is also handing reusable masks out – it is possible to now phase out single-use ones for the general population,” he said

ShoeX is not the only company beginning to adapt to the crisis by creating innovative products that are relevant to evolving consumer concerns. New York-based tactical gear company StatGear, for instance, recently launched Hygiene Hand, a brass tool designed to be used on shared surfaces that is inherently antimicrobial and 100% recyclable. 

Read our earlier Covid-19 coverage here

Lead image courtesy of ShoeX. 


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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