World's first plastic-free PPE equipment launched to combat coronavirus pandemic

The world's first plastic-free PPE protective equipment has been launched today by campaign group A Plastic Planet, in a bid to assist the fight against coronavirus without harming the natural environment.

More than one million plastic-free PPE visors will be produced each week

More than one million plastic-free PPE visors will be produced each week

A Plastic Planet has worked with Reelbrands and Transcend Packaging to develop plastic-free visors to protect frontline workers and medical staff in the ongoing battle to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The new visors are certified to circular economy standards and are made from FSC paper board and PEFC cellulose from wood pulp. The visor is both recyclable and home compostable.

Already, some 761 million pieces of PPE, largely made from plastic, have been distributed in the UK alone since February 2020. However, many images have emerged of plastic-based PPE equipment ending up in the natural environment, adding to the near 12 billion pieces of single-use plastic that is anticipated to seep into landfill and the natural environment by 2050.

Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, said: “No-one wants to compromise the safety of employees and the public; but the plastic PPE visors are used once and then exist for centuries, polluting our planet. 

“We wanted to lead by example and show that we can protect ourselves and protect our planet. We can no longer sacrifice nature without consequence. The public backs a green recovery from the pandemic because quite simply, we cannot self-isolate or vaccinate against the climate crisis.”

Through the new collaboration, more than one million plastic-free PPE visors will be produced each week. NHS providers including delivery service Yodel have already placed orders for the equipment, which is the first protective equipment to be accredited with A Plastic Planet’s Plastic Free Trust Mark.

Additionally, A Plastic Planet has teamed with TerraCycle to collect visors from dedicated disposal bins to be recycled or composted.

In order to create worldwide access to the plastic-free equipment, the creators are working with Augment Bionics to create supplies for charities in East and South Africa, while manufacturing plans in the US are also underway.

Liz Bonnin, science, wildlife and environmental broadcaster added: "PPE is vital for the protection of health care workers and to reduce the transmission of the virus. But it doesn't have to be made from fossil fuels. 

"Covid-19 will be part of our lives for some time, and as lockdown rules ease, demand for PPE is only going to increase. Considering the plastic pollution crisis we are still battling, and the lessons we are learning from this pandemic about the need to work with nature instead of against it, Plastic Free PPE can help to protect us without further damaging the planet."

Matt Mace


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