Today, like most days, millions and millions and millions of people will be using face masks to keep themselves and others safe.
Many of them will be reusable, but others are disposable.
They’re still necessary, of course, but it does mean more trash in a world that’s already trying to figure out what to do about all the garbage that’s being produced.
There may actually now be a way to put those masks to use again: after they’re done helping us stay healthy, they can help us make new roads.
There have been a lot of efforts in recent years to use recycled materials in roads and sidewalks; we’ve featured some of them on this show before.
The latest one comes from researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.
They’ve developed a process that takes one part shredded disposable face-masks and 99 parts recycled concrete aggregate, a processed form of waste concrete and rubble from demolished buildings, and turns them into material for roads.
The masks aren’t merely in there just so that we have somewhere to stick them, by the way; the researchers say the shredded mask material makes the roads more flexible and durable.
Making a two lane road that’s one kilometer long with this process requires three million masks.
But, for one thing, doing so keeps 93 tons of material out of landfills, and, for another, I’m pretty sure we have that many used masks available.
Today is National Pizza Day, and if you’re looking to share a pie with someone today, here’s a fun fact: according to geometry you don’t have to cut the pizza through the middle to make equal slices.
Pick pretty much any point on the pizza, cut it four times at equal angles and then take alternating slices.
Or you could just let the pizza place cut the slices for you.
Used face masks can make roads: Aust study (The West Australian)
The Pizza Theorem (Futility Closet)
Face mask photo by Ivan Radic via Flickr/Creative Commons