Face masks for bartenders made from sour milk

A spirits brand in the UK has created face masks from discarded milk.

Discarded, an aperitif brand owned by spirits group William Grant & Sons, said it has created the milk masks to support bar staff who are returning to work to new hygiene and safety measures, “in what is still an extremely uncertain time”.

The company is working with Mi Terro, a biotech firm that extracts the casein protein molecules from the bacteria found in “bad” milk and uses Dynamic Flow Shear Spinning to create sustainable fibres. The company has used this fibres to make rewearable face-masks for bartenders.

William Grant & Sons will distribute the complimentary masks to selected bars around London including Happiness Forgets and Ever After, Artisean, and Grind, as well as further afield around the UK.

The spirits group launched Discarded, a sweet vermouth infused with cascara, the often-discarded fruit of the coffee berry, in 2018 in response to a growing consumer demand for ethically-focused brands.

The launch comes just over a month after bars and restaurants in the UK have been able to reopen following the country’s four month coronavirus lockdown.

Bars can operate provided they can keep at least a one-metre distance between customers, take customers’ contact details to track any Covid-19 and also implement other (albeit optional) measures, such as contactless ordering and asking staff to wear facemasks.

Shana Gujral, marketing executive, William Grant & Son’s said: “Typically, face masks are single use and have been named the new plastic bottle as they contribute to marine debris with a 450 year lifespan. So in true Discarded Spirits fashion, we sourced fabric which uses biotechnology to turn wasted milk into cotton fibres. This creates a super soft and breathable material, perfect for face masks and champions one of the UK’s most wasted household ingredient.”

Alex King, Artesian’s bartender, said: “We closed in March and we don’t know when we are going back. Face masks made from wasted milk is such a brilliant idea, obviously sustainability is a massive topic especially in the food and drink industry because of the amount of waste that is produced.

“If we can make face masks out of anything, especially things like wasted milk, it is a huge deal. Face masks are creating so much waste themselves, literally dumping them in the streets and littering. I’m really excited to see what Discarded makes next.”

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