Two finalist students of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Minho have created cork mask holders, which value sustainability, innovation and health. The project was born during the pandemic and as an alternative to plastic bags. From the size of a credit card, the structure folds in half and tightens with the elastic of the mask, looking like a classic purse.
The idea was born by Tiago Azevedo, from Esposende, and Paulo Pinheiro, from Ponte da Barca. The 23-year-olds, who study the energy and environment aspect, talked in the summer about new projects that emerged with the pandemic. “There were no environmentally friendly and hygienic solutions to keep the masks, this problem happened to us successively when we arrived at the café or the car, for example”, they explain.
They decided then to conceive mask holders in cork, because they considered this material resistant, sustainable and “so Portuguese”. “We wanted a safe, simple and practical solution, made with ecological and recyclable material, being simultaneously impermeable, disinfectable and adaptable to the various models of masks in the market”, emphasizes Paulo Pinheiro. The next stages of development included the design, sewing and manufacturing of the units, the online platform, order management and promotion in social networks.
“Each step leads to learning and working daily to overcome obstacles, adding value to the project,” says Tiago Azevedo. The product is available in six models and in the colors cork, blue, black, brown and tribal green. All the versions also allow to carry two cards, like the one of citizen and credit. The receptivity to this offer “has been good and even sensitizes to the use of the mask with more care and effectiveness”.
The project, called “Senteatuaescolha”, associates a useful product nowadays with the philosophy of zero waste. The students of the Engineering School of UMinho now want to deepen their knowledge about sustainable materials, reinventing objects from the needs of citizens that are composed of materials harmful to the planet.
+Info: senteatuaescolha.com, instagram.com/senteatuaescolha, facebook.com/senteatuaescolha