Benedictine company Montlusa created reusable personal masks made out of Cork
By Joel Ribeiro -
April 3, 2020
The crises have revealed the ingenuity and responsiveness of Portuguese companies and entrepreneurs at different levels. At Benedita, the lack of personal protection masks available on the market and the need to use them led Montlusa to create its cork masks. The product has already reached the market and has the particularity of being able to be washed and reused.
Necessity sharpens the ingenuity. This was the old maxim that led the Benedictine company Montlusa to create their protective masks in cork.
"There started to be a lack of masks in the country, and we had to find a way to protect our employees," he reports. The company, which works in fashion accessories and leather goods in leather and cork fabric, realized that it had what it needed to make its own personal protection masks and that they are efficient. The first units were for internal consumption, but then "we saw that it was a product with potential" for commercialization, says the businessman.
The masks produced by the company have an advantage over those that the market offers on a large scale; they are reusable. "Just wash with soap and water, or even disinfect, and they can be used again," stresses Ricardo Lopes.
"When made from natural cork on the outside, our masks allow for stronger protection, and the 100% cotton interior makes them softer and more comfortable to use. As we have seen, some disposables are creating wounds in health professionals", he adds.
As it is a new product, it is not yet possible to establish its maximum durability, but Ricardo Lopes says that it will be extensive, without losing the main characteristics.
The company already sells masks in two different sizes, adjusted for adults and children. But Montlusa believes in the potential of the product and wants to develop it so that it can reach health professionals, through a product that is under development and that includes the use of filters. The aim is that the product can have its effectiveness proven with certification.
Because they can be reused, masks made of cork fabric also contribute to the reduction of waste caused by disposable masks.
Ricardo Lopes says that the market's receptivity "has been beyond what we expected". And he adds that he is already establishing contacts with city councils to make this type of product reach citizens more quickly.
PRODUCT HAS ARRIVED IN MACAU
The need for this type of product is widespread on a global scale, and Montlusa's cork masks have already made news in Macau, in an article by Benedictine journalist Renato Marques published by the Macau Daily Times newspaper entitled "Facial masks: from hated need to fashion accessories." The article reports how some of the main brands have included this type of accessory in their offer, since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ricardo Lopes notes that more and more people are wearing masks and believes that, if this problem persists, use will grow even more, if not on a daily basis, at least in "certain types of work or even in some housework."
Regarding the impact of the pandemic on the company, Ricardo Lopes says that there are customers waiting for orders, others placing orders for deliveries scheduled for when the disease calms down, and others asking for postponing payments "because their stores are closed, and they don't know when they can reopen."
"It is a problem that has to be managed jointly between all companies in the commercial circuit - suppliers, producers and traders -, each time we have to be more united to overcome this problem," he concludes.