A PLASTIC company has manufactured a new form of PPE mask which can be used multiple times.

The mask, created by Plastic Mouldings Northern Ltd in Bishop Auckland, can extend the life of existing PPE masks by up to four times.

Alongside The Angel Trust charity, the company has dispatched 1,000 new masks to care homes and key workers.

The Northern Echo:

Danny Hooper, an employee at the company, said: “A single use disposable mask can be cut up into 60mm squares and used with our mask.

“The mask can also be sterilised by placing it in a conventional household microwave that produces 800kW for 60 seconds.

“This will kill any germs that may have gotten onto the mask, elastic headband and foam nose cushion.”

The Northern Echo:

Mark Rigg, production director at the company, said: “Lots of people started producing visors, which was great, but you still need to wear a mask with them.

“We wanted to create something that would help combat the PPE shortages, and by designing the mask in this way we believe we can really help with that.

“Working with The Angel Trust charity, we have made and sent out 1,000 of these masks to care homes and front line workers across County Durham.

“It was important to us that we tried to help in any way we could.

The Northern Echo:

“Wearing masks in public could become the new normal, so the burden on getting the PPE to those who really need it will become even greater, and our mask will help do that.

“We have continually tried to contact the NHS and Public Health England to offer this mask to them but we have had no reply from either.

“It is individual companies like ourselves and charities, like The Angel Trust, who have done all the work in getting the vital equipment to the key workers.”

With PPE being limited in some areas of the NHS and leaving many key workers struggling, the company's new invention means that existing masks can be reused rather than disposed of after one wear.

The Northern Echo:

The masks have been given to all of the care homes in Bishop Auckland, and will also make their way to key workers and hospices.

Clair McGregor, of The Angel Trust charity, said: "We wanted to help the community, and it seemed that the demand for masks and weakness in this area was in the care homes.

"Some of our trustees did research into masks, and when we found this one that was reusable and hadn't gone on the market yet, and that we going to be the first ones to purchase from them, the board of trustees wanted to help.

The Northern Echo:

"With the money that we raised within the community, we have given back and purchased £4,000-worth of masks and visors.

"It was nice to visit the company and meet the workers, I actually put one of the masks together and packaged it, so it was really nice to be able to do that.

"If anybody else working on the front line wanted to contact us then we would endeavour to supply them."

To find out more about the masks, visit Plastic Mouldings Northern Ltd on Facebook.