Sustainable PPE: Buying the Best of British
CHB Medical look at the topic of sustainable PPE
It seems an age ago when we were all launched into this life-altering pandemic back in March 2020. Scrambling around for PPE to protect us from the unseen threat that is the COVID-19 virus. Extracting stocks from professions that have always needed PPE in their daily operations resulting in a boom in counterfeit, not-fit-for-purpose disposable products from all corners of the world to satisfy demand. But where are we now….what have we done to our environment… and can we retrace our steps to think more about sustainable options for PPE and support British supply, rather than short-term, here and now fixes?
This is a topic close to our hearts at CHB Medical, and we want to do something positive about it; we’ve seen too many people duped into purchasing untested foreign, throw-away stock (that should have been thrown away to start with) that offers minimal protection and is a real and present danger to our wildlife and environment. The key to changing buyer behaviour is education and dispelling myths… and let’s face it, there are plenty of untruths being peddled amongst unscrupulous suppliers and the press right now.
Sustainable PPE myths
There are many products that can be safely re-used, such as our reusable facemasks, face shields and goggles. Facemasks have removable and changeable filters, and once removed the mask can be effectively cleaned in the washing machine. Shields and goggles simply require antiviral/bacterial washes to disinfect after use and will provide long-term protection if looked after.
Another frustrating fallacy is the short-termist view on price. In fact, buying packs of 10 single-use, disposable masks for £5 during the supermarket sweep is a false economy. One of our fully compliant, 4 ply reusable/multiple-use facemasks with 2 filters will set you back just £4.95 each (£24.75 for 5). You can conceivably wear this product for 100s of times in between washes, paying for itself in a matter of days; whereas the disposable option is 50p per use. It is an economic ‘no brainer’ and as a nation we would significantly reduce this waste component if we all just stopped to think for a moment about the alternatives and impacts.
Myth 3: ‘Cor Blimey’, what’s everybody worried about, I can put my disposable masks/PPE in the recycling
This is the scariest and most concerning myth of all. Most PPE cannot be recycled via usual channels. For example, disposable facemasks are classed as ‘infectious waste’ and some recycling companies have gone so far as to plead with people not to include them, as they can contaminate the rest of your recycling. Moreover, most councils do not have the right collection and treatment systems in place to deal with PPE products. Therefore, the only option for non-medical businesses and domestic households is to put disposable PPE into general waste… and inevitably some people cannot even find a bin resulting in scenes like the above.
If we haven’t convinced you yet to invest in reusable and sustainable PPE products, let’s try another angle – how about supporting professional British business? Whilst we all have a responsibility to protect our environment, we also should think about where products come from and the practices used in making PPE. Especially for business purchasers, who have a corporate social responsibility to ensure they are supporting their region/country and not promoting slavery practices at home or abroad.
We are big supporters of British manufacture for the supply of our PPE products and conduct stringent due diligence on all of our suppliers, whilst contributing to and helping reinforce a sustainable industry in this country. Yes, it might be a few pence more than foreign supply, but we rest easy at night knowing that we are sourcing quality products and keeping Britain in jobs.