The international outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 infection has put pressure on governments to find immediate solutions to the shortage of surgical masks and other protective equipment. To allow textile manufacturers producing surgical masks to avoid usual restrictions imposed on personalprotective- equipment producers, the Italian government issued a ministerial decree that was followed by technical guidelines provided by several universities. Starting from a hypothetical composition and design, we calculated the carbon footprint of surgical masks manufactured following technical guidelines, with the city of Taranto hosting the production facility. Results show that the production of textile sheets composing the masks and their disposal were the main contributors to emissions, followed by packaging and transportation. A strategy of reuse based on laundry operation was modelled, and the balance between disposal strategy and reuse with the laundry operation (which has environmental issues due to detergents and water use) was in favor of the second option. To reduce the carbon footprint, a minimized textiles area (by smart shaping) and reuse strategies result in the best options. Further reduction may be achieved by building up a recycling chain of disposed masks, activated by municipalities.

Carbon Footprint of Surgical Masks Made in Taranto to Prevent {SARS}-{CoV}-2 Diffusion: A Preliminary Assessment

Pasquale Giungato
;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The international outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 infection has put pressure on governments to find immediate solutions to the shortage of surgical masks and other protective equipment. To allow textile manufacturers producing surgical masks to avoid usual restrictions imposed on personalprotective- equipment producers, the Italian government issued a ministerial decree that was followed by technical guidelines provided by several universities. Starting from a hypothetical composition and design, we calculated the carbon footprint of surgical masks manufactured following technical guidelines, with the city of Taranto hosting the production facility. Results show that the production of textile sheets composing the masks and their disposal were the main contributors to emissions, followed by packaging and transportation. A strategy of reuse based on laundry operation was modelled, and the balance between disposal strategy and reuse with the laundry operation (which has environmental issues due to detergents and water use) was in favor of the second option. To reduce the carbon footprint, a minimized textiles area (by smart shaping) and reuse strategies result in the best options. Further reduction may be achieved by building up a recycling chain of disposed masks, activated by municipalities.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/369392
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