As South African Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize urges South Africans to wear masks to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), North Ridge has opened its Cape Town factory to manufacture reusable cloth masks for the personal protection of the general public and support of our staff members. The Health Minister’s statements echo those of authorities internationally.
North Ridge will be producing hemp cloth masks. Other than the obvious environmental benefit of using a reusable, washable fabric mask; hemp is an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to other fabrics commonly used in cloth masks. Hemp is naturally anti-bacterial, hypo-allergenic and is stronger than ordinary cotton. We will be using a hemp blend (55% hemp and 45% organic cotton at 190gsm) to ensure you get all the benefits of hemp while still keeping the masks comfortable to wear. North Ridge’s skilled team of machinists are working under strict social distancing and hygiene protocols to produce masks.
Our masks have two protective hemp layers and each mask comes with 5 removable Brits D15 Filter elements (the filter is inserted into a pouch in the middle, adding a third protective layer). Once the filter has been sterilised five times, a new filter needs to be inserted. To put this into perspective, if you are only going out once a week, the filter will last five weeks. You can also create your own filter by inserting a piece of cotton or polycotton into the pocket of the mask instead, however, we cannot guarantee this will be as effective as the Brits filter.
A Brits nonwoven filter element for masks disrupts the transport system for the virus by controlling and trapping the respiratory microdroplets of 5micron and above generated by talking, coughing and sneezing. The filter allows the mask to entrap many smaller particles as well but is 95% effective for microdroplets above 5micron.
Masks will be adjustable and sold individually or in packs of five and ten. Masks can be purchased via our sister company, Ubuntu Baba.
These are not medical grade, surgical masks and N95 respirators, which are in short supply globally and need to be preserved for our frontline health workers. Cloth masks can offer some protection from respiratory viruses, so long as the individual wearing them uses them properly and consistently. Masks should support other precautions such as frequent hand washing, limiting outings and social distancing.
All new masks and filters must be sterilized before use. Learn more about how to care for your mask here.