Hong Kong Upcycler Turns Trash to Coronavirus Protective Gear

A Hong Kong upcycler is turning household waste into face masks and goggles amid the battle against the coronavirus.

None of the items are scientifically proven to protect wearers, but with a shortage of proper protective equipment, his designs are drawing attention.

Trash becomes treasure – treasure fit for a virus pandemic.

Fong Yik-hang is a children’s games designer and amateur upcycler who is turning rubbish into protective gear.

Milk cartons become masks.

A single-use plastic sandwich box becomes a pair of goggles.

None of this has been scientifically designed or medically tested – these items are more about psychological reassurance than a proven way to protect against Covid-19.

But they are the latest in a range of items Fong has been making since 2016.

That’s when he set up the Facebook page “Garbage Handmade – HK” and has since designed more than 70 upcycled household items, including turning plastic water bottles into umbrella holders, using plastic dishwashing liquid bottles as holders for remote controllers and making use of wine bottle corks and plastic bottles to turn into a sellotape dispenser.

He says anything he makes must meet two basic requirements.

“Firstly, it has to make use of household rubbish, especially those that could not be reused. Secondly, to use basic tools, where an electric drill, electric saw or glue gun are not needed. I rarely use the glue gun. I just use scissors or a cutter because I hope that more people can make them when special tools are not needed,” explains Fong.

Facing a shortage of face masks in Hong Kong since the outbreak of the pandemic, Fong has tried to use household rubbish to make his own.

Two milk cartons, a lid of tin can and two plastic screw caps can be made into a mask with filters.

“The upcycled items made should be practical. I do not want to use rubbish to create another piece of rubbish,” he says.

No doctors, scientists or Hong Kong government officials have approved or promoted Fong’s inventions.

But there is public demand for any sort of protection, and in the absence of top quality personal protective equipment, this Fong feels, is a simple alternative. A simple response for a fearful public, as well as a way of cutting down waste.

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