An impressive Canadian company, Vitacore is creating sustainable, state-of-the-art respirators and masks right here at home.
With every obstacle brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has demonstrated its ability to adapt and problem-solve. We’ve united like never before, working together to get our nation through these difficult times. Based in Burnaby, BC, Vitacore Industries Inc., is an innovative company doing precisely that.
Created at the beginning of the pandemic with the intention of ensuring protection of frontline workers, Vitacore is a collaborative corporation made up of some of Canada’s top doctors, engineers, scientists, and business leaders. They produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for Canadian frontline workers — offering superior quality respirators at a fair price.
In fact, their CAN95 Respirator was the first to receive Health Canada’s authorization as an N95 equivalent mask. With its manufacturing done locally, Vitacore services over 1,400 long-term care facilities and is entirely self-funded. But despite the CAN95’s international acclaim, Vitacore was set on creating an even more efficient respirator.
World class efficiency
“We wanted to achieve above 99 percent filtration,” says Mikhail Moore, president of Vitacore. “We also found that a lot of respirators weren’t properly fitting our frontline workers as the most important part is creating a seal on their face.”
With this in mind, Vitacore developed their newest product, the CAN99 Respirator. Not only is its filtration level above 99 percent at 85 litres per minute, but it also fits 87 to 98 percent of faces. For comparison, most respirators fit only about 50 percent of people perfectly.
“It does stand out internationally as one of the best single-use respirators in the world” says Moore. “And that’s really to the credit of our team, who was focused on making the best product possible.” Featuring low inhalation and exhalation resistance, it’s one of the most breathable PPE products on the market.
The company is thinking of the Earth’s health, too. “We’re creating a single-use product and we felt it on our conscience,” explains Moore. “We thought, ‘How do we protect Canadians and also the environment?’”
Safe for people and the planet
As a solution, Vitacore introduced a pilot program for recycling their masks and respirators. Once a product is used, it’s collected and sterilized. “We created a sterilization system with our partners at McMaster University,” says Moore. Then, they’re sorted. “Some parts of the masks, like the aluminum nose pieces, are recycled separately. They’re removed and the remaining parts go into a reprocessing machine that melts it down into pellets.”
Already a popularly recycled product, these polypropylene pellets are then repurposed into building materials, roads, and concrete reinforcement. There are four mask collection bins in Vancouver, and Vitacore plans to install more across the country. “Our intention is to have this expand as quickly as possible, but what we’d like to see is other companies do something similar,” Moore adds. “We’ve proven that this is effective and can be done safely and cost efficiently.”
Made in Canada
Without a doubt, Vitacore’s efforts have been invaluable to Canada’s fight against COVID-19. Their initiatives keep our loved ones safe while being environmentally conscientious — an achievement we can all be proud to call Canadian. As Moore says, “We have amazing talent in this country. Vitacore is just one small example of that.”