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West Japan trading company exec creates paper bags for safe mask disposal

"Mask poi poi" paper bags for disposing face masks are shown in this image provided by Hirofumi Iwamura, president of trading company Nasaranet.

OSAKA -- A business executive in western Japan has developed a paper bag to safely dispose of masks amid the rise in demand due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Hirofumi Iwamura, 61, president of Nasaranet, a trading company in the Osaka Prefecture city of Tondabayashi, created the item by using material that has high water resistance, among other features, after becoming wary of the littering of masks that may still carry virus particles capable of infecting those who come in contact with them.

Iwamura said that he began to think about proper manners for disposing masks around March as he increasingly saw the items thrown on the streets. He commented, "I wanted to ensure the safety of those who collect trash for us as well as show kindness to those who throw masks away." He added, "I hope people can use the bags while showing consideration to those who collect them."

The trading company Nasaranet has exported raw material to China for disposal bags placed in airplanes and in bullet trains. Iwamura started developing the product from April by making use of these raw materials and the skills of his customers.

The trash bag is white and shaped like an envelope, with special processing applied to the inner part, making it resistant to water and moisture. The opening of the bag can be sealed using double-sided tape. The paper bag can be thrown out as combustible waste. The product has been sold online from May under the name "Mask poi poi," with "poi" being Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound of tossing trash. The trash bags are sold in packs of five, with each pack costing 165 yen including tax.

"The usage of masks will continue hereafter. I hope that the product becomes popular so that masks can be thrown away safely."

(Japanese original by Saori Moriguchi, Osaka City News Department)

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