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Increase the use of recycled materials for personal protection products (PPE)

18/10/2021 03:39 PM
The Covid-19 pandemic that broke out from the beginning of 2020 has pushed the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) to spike, causing the PPE manufacturing industry to have a huge growth spurt, and at the same time, the quantity huge waste after use. The problem is how to maintain high quality products, meet the urgent requirements of the market with good price and environmental friendliness.

According to forecasts, the total world demand for PPE in 2021 may reach 340-420 billion pcs. The most talked about product is a mask that could increase by up to 1200% in 2022 compared to 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

It also means that the PPE industry also needs to develop in the sustainable direction of the circular economy: using recycled, environmentally friendly materials. Suppliers can also provide product-side services such as washing reusable protective gear, or recovering used PPE products for recycling...

In PPE products, Meltblown is an ultra-fine fiber non-woven filter cloth with 100% Poly propylene (PP) fiber composition, produced with a special process by melting plastic blowing technique, creating layers of fabric can filter bacteria up to 99.9%, waterproof, dustproof, anti-odor, known as the "lungs" of antibacterial medical masks.

Meltblown is stretchable, soft, can withstand very high heat, fire proof and water proof, but fresh air, making the wearer feel comfortable, breathable and not irritant. Pathogens and viruses cannot pass through this layer and have no chance to enter the wearer's respiratory tract. It is this layer that also plays the main role in creating the BFE antibacterial index of the mask, up to 99%.

British scientists have developed technology to process used medical masks by putting them in a melting furnace for recycling. If widely applied, this technology also contributes to significantly solving the amount of waste generated when medical masks are discarded after use.

Besides, using recycled materials to produce PPE is also a direction that manufacturers are very interested in. With a history of more than 200 years specializing in providing PPE personal protective equipment from masks, surgical caps, protective gowns... in the US: Merrow Manufacturing has developed materials to produce personal protective equipment made from 100% recycled polyester material from used plastic bottles.

The design and production of this product is the result of a partnership between Merrow Manufacturing - a leading PPE developer in the US and Fabric development company - Precision Fabric Group (PFG), associated and collaborating with experts in the textile and finishing of long filament yarns.

The PPE product set for the medical system is assessed to be affordable, 25-30% lower than non-biodegradable products with similar functions, using recycled materials and being manufactured in a solar-powered factory in the United States. Products can also be recycled, contributing to the development of a supply chain sustainable PPE manufacturing across the United States. This is also the green and sustainable production trend that many global PPE manufacturers have been aiming for.

Photo caption: Development of PPE manufacturing materials for Zero Net zero-waste medical system

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