MONTEBELLO, CALIF.—Before the onset of a global COVID-19 pandemic, Allied Feather & Down and Allied Home were focused, as they had been for 30 years, on creating a more sustainable supply chain and a cleaner home.
As Allied shifted its bedding production in its Commerce, Calif., manufacturing facility to produce facemasks in early March, the family owned company began to realize just how big this need was going to be on a global scale.
While the response focused at first on healthcare workers and disenfranchised populations such as those experiencing homelessness, the pandemic response has highlighted just how many people are vulnerable—including critical frontline service providers necessary for everyday life.
By now it is widely reported that American healthcare workers are facing a shortage of facemasks and other PPE as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are not the only ones at risk. “When we started producing masks in our Commerce facility, we never imagined the extent and volume of the need. When we starting talking to our hospitality and institutional partners, it became clear that we could install the same mask manufacturing program in all our global facilities to help serve the needs of all these front line service workers that put their health at risk to help make our lives easier,” said Steve Uretsky, founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Allied Feather + Down.
In April the global supplier of down and home bedding began the conversions of its bedding manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe, and at a new facility opening in Montreal. Allied has now gone from shipping between 10,000 to 15,000 masks a day, to providing millions of reusable cotton masks to service industry providers. By the end of May, Allied will be shipping more than 3,000,000 masks to prominent hotels and resorts, with the ability to add capacity as needed.
Mask Wearing Works
According to Vox.com, new research shows that universal mask-wearing helps slow the spread of Covid-19. “New York City, with a population of about 8.4 million, has had over 28,000 coronavirus deaths as of May 18. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has officially recorded only four Covid-19 deaths, despite having 7.5 million residents. One reason that could help explain the stark disparity: In Hong Kong, nearly everyone wears a face mask in public.” According to data from the University of San Francisco, universal mask-wearing could be one of the most important tools in tackling the spread of COVID-19. Researchers cite a medical study currently under peer review which shows that more people wearing “less effective” reusable, non-medical masks is just as effective as medical grade masks.
However, this widespread use of disposable masks comes with a heavy impact on the environment. Unfortunately, disposable masks are not sustainable at this scale, and the environmental nightmare this has the potential to become has not fallen on deaf ears. Already in Hong Kong, discarded masks are washing up on beaches and posing a threat to marine life.
“While we understand the critical need to use face masks, we fear disposable masks are already becoming the new cigarette butt. We found that what we did with our bedding factory in Montebello could be used as a model for our global facilities in Asia, Europe and Canada to offer our hospitality industry associates masks that help keep their employees safe while doing so in a way that is also beneficial for the planet and cost effective over the long term,” continued Uretsky. “By repurposing existing fabrics and creating a product that remains effective through washing, we can help minimize the use of disposable masks that are already starting to become a blight on the landscape.”
For more information about Allied face masks, please visit www.alliedhomebedding.com. Please contact info@alliedhospitalitybedding.