Coronavirus: Man makes face masks from beer kegs for frontline workers

‘I’ve had offers from local breweries to give me more kegs so I can make many more’

Friday 10 April 2020 23:24
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MP calls for coronavirus tests and PPE for all care workers after nursing home outbreaks

A beer enthusiast has responded to calls for personal protective equipment from frontline workers by fashioning DIY face masks from plastic beer kegs.

Bill Bremner, from east London, managed to recycle beer key kegs into PPE after hearing about the national shortage of masks amid the coronavirus crisis.

"I had all these empty KeyKegs because I help run a beer festival for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), and I took them home to see if I could find another use for them, rather than seeing them be desposed of” said Mr Bremner, a logistics manager at Hackney’s annual Pigs Ear Festival.

"When I saw there was a desperate need for personal protective equipment for key workers I decided to make them into face masks."

Mr Bremner looked at pictures of PPE equipment on the Internet, and worked out how he could replicate it from recycled materials.

“One mask I saw was of someone working in a hospital – mine is very similar to theirs,” said Mr Bremner.

“Those working in intensive care situations tend to have the fully plastic helmet type fixing, which you can flip up; those are much more substantial. These ones I’ve made are more suited to people doing home care visits and those working in nursing homes.”

The masks are made from a 20-litre plastic beer keg, with one container providing eight masks for frontline workers.

Mr Bremner has approached local hospitals, care homes, chemists, and district nurses, and intends to supply them to anyone who needs them, for free.

“I hope to distribute them to people in vulnerable working conditions this week,” said Mr Bremner, who has, so far, made 100 masks.

His crafty approach comes after NHS staff issued pleas over PPE, with the government facing criticism for failing to secure vital equipment for those working on the frontlines in the fight against the deadly disease.

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“I’ve had offers from local breweries to give me more kegs so I can make many more,” Mr Bremner said.

He hopes other beer enthusiasts will follow suit and make the masks out of recycled materials at home for their local communities.

“I’ve taken pictures and written instructions on how to make these. All the materials are very basic, but you need some simple tools like snips to make them,” explained Mr Bremner, who has shared the instructions on his instagram page @billrecycles. “But those wanting to help could potentially save lives and slow the spread of the virus with these masks”

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