Companies work to make PPE greener
Demand for PPE (personal protective equipment) has risen dramatically to protect the public and workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are now several initiatives that are working to make PPE greener and safer for the environment.
In Mexico, chemical engineering student Tamara Chayo has developed a material to make PPE that healthcare workers can wear up to 50 times without losing its positive qualities. After being worn 50 times, the PPE is disinfected and recycled into cotton scrubs and packaging bags.
Many recycling solutions have been developed for plastic-based medical PPE. The Thermal Compaction Group (TCG), based in Cardiff, melts down used PPE in machines operating at 300°C, which kills off all virus traces. The material is then made into plastic bricks, which are used to make new products, including chairs, 3D printer filaments and craft yarn.
Speaking to Waste Management World, Mat Rapson, the Managing Director of TCG, said:
“It takes what's designated as a single-use product and actually turns it into a multi-use product.”
In India, entrepreneur Binish Desai has converted waste PPE into bricks used in low-cost housing and schools. Desai wants to expand his recycling business to tackle Britain's waste PPE.
It has been estimated that 129 million disposable masks and 75 billion disposable gloves are used worldwide each month. This creates a waste problem. The efforts of many individuals and companies around the world are tackling this issue by creating ways to reuse or recycle PPE so that it does not end up in landfills or the oceans.