23 May 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Irish company “RashR” has joined the charge against COVID -19 transmission by pivoting their business to produce eco-friendly, reusable face masks with filters, for the general public with €2 of the proceeds per mask going to the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association (ILFA).
In an effort to think outside the box as a result of a temporary decline in their core business, and in the pursuit of helping out the ILFA as well as the people of Ireland as a whole in the fight against COVID-19, Cork-based company “RashR”, is now producing washable eco-friendly facemasks with filters.
Since 2017, the company has been a leading supplier to luxury resorts across the world (such as the Four Seasons, Sixth Sense, and Richard Branson’s luxury resort, Necker Island) with their sustainable clothing and accessories (including rash vests, compression tops, boardshorts and caps).
However, with the onset of COVID-19, the company is now using the materials they traditionally used in the production of their internationally renowned rash vests (protective skin clothing for surfers in hot climates) to produce high quality face masks on an industrial scale.
Speaking about the decision to launch “RashR” facemasks, CEO, founder and Carrigaline-native, Tom Cotter said:
“In response to the current pandemic, we have committed to utilising our wide international network and considerable industry experience to source reliable good quality, eco-friendly materials in the fight against COVID-19 at realistic cost by working directly with top manufacturers.
The masks have been manufactured using recycled polyester at just under medical grade standard so will not be interfering with the supply of PPE equipment for healthcare workers.
However, the masks will be suitable to those in a general work and public environment as businesses slowly begin to open their doors again based on public health guidelines.”
“We also wanted to help a charity as we know they are especially struggling during this time, so with that we chose to donate €2 of each mask to the Irish Lung Fibrosis Foundation.
We chose to donate €2 from every mask sold to the Irish Lung Fibrosis Foundation given the significant number of members suffering from respiratory diseases at the moment, a lot of their members would suffer from symptoms very similar to COVID-19 constantly and with our masks helping to protect the lungs, it felt like a good fit for us.” Tom added.
“We’re also delighted to be working with a number of companies around Ireland and internationally to recreate branded facemasks from reclaimed ocean waste for the ‘new now’. This is a great option for corporate customers to have their own branded facemasks.” he concluded.
The masks have also recently received the support and backing of none other than Leonardo Di Caprio, who is well-known outside of his acting on the big screen for being a devout environmental activist.
The facemasks are machine washable and reusable and are manufactured in two sizes – an adult one-size-fits all version and one for children aged 3-10 years. Each facemask has a pocket which is suitable for optional PM2.5 filters which are also supplied by the company. The five-layer filters are non-woven fabric, activated carbon and melt down fabric to conform to GBT 32610 -2016 standards to filter bacteria, particles, dust and smoke and to increase filtration levels.
Each filter which can be worn for up to eight hours, has been tested to conform with the EPA requirement of having a DOP particle efficiency of 99.7% or better.
“Rash’R” has teamed up with a number of their European manufacturers to produce the masks– and up to 25,000 can be produced with a lead time of three weeks. Company specific branding is also available.
In addition to their conformities with public health guidelines, the masks also meet global recycling standards.
In terms of caring for these masks, “RashR” have advised that all masks be washed regularly, with any filters removed prior to washing. All masks are also machine washable at 40c for 30 minutes, with no bleach, and must be ironed at medium temperatures only, with no tumble drying of the masks or dry cleaning advised.
Each mask is €19.99 and includes 1 filter (with €2 per mask donation going to The Irish Lung Fibrosis Association). A Pack of 5 filters is available also at €7.50. For further information on the masks or to place an order, see rashr.com or follow @TeamRashR on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.