PPEs: biodegradable/nonplastic alternatives sought

August 31, 2020

To contain the “other epidemic” of plastic materials, PPEs made of non-plastic and alternative materials are being developed as counter measures to the environmental impact of PPEs being discarded and littering the environment, says Angelica Buan in this report.

Demand overtakes supply

PPEs: biodegradable/nonplastic alternatives sought

At first glance, it is merely a piece of a moisture repellent cloth with strings. The use of medical masks, commonly made of non-woven fabrics made from plastics like PP, to repel, filter and protect user s, was mostly conf ined to hospital settings dur ing the pre-Covid-19 era. But when the new coronavirus pandemic broke out, demand for masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) spiked tremendously causing demand to outpace supply and PPEs becoming priceless commodities.

In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledged the limited access of PPEs, with supply deficit spreading globally. In early March, WHO sought for an increase in manufacturing by 40% to meet rising global demand. It had estimated that 89 million medical masks/month were required to meet the Covid-19 response. The situation has exposed the vulnerability of the PPE supply chain during the course of the pandemic.

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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