Pandemic is a big pain in the neck. And in the midst of it, we (particularly the ones on the front line) need a lot of things to get by, such as hand sanitizer, medical visors, and disposable gloves. I understand in today’s time we can’t be exactly eco friendly because most of us need sterility and/or hygiene. However, biodegradable nitrile single-use gloves are here to help us and the environment.
These biodegradable nitrile gloves are 100% compostable and will return to nature within 1 to 5 years (depending on the condition) as opposed to traditional nitrile gloves that can take a hundred years or more to properly degrade, and they also leave harmful particles behind.
The biodegradable ones are made from zero natural rubber latex proteins and they are powder-free as well. Therefore, there will likely be no allergy-related irritation. There are two manufacturers of biodegradable single use nitrile gloves that I found, which are Good Judy’s and Showa’s.
Showa’s gloves are produced using Eco-Best Technology (EBT) which accelerates the biodegradation of gloves in biologically active landfills using anaerobic digesters. This technology has been validated by independent certified laboratories using internationally recognized test methods. Moreover, the packaging of this glove is made from either recycled paper or 100% post-consumer waste.
As for Good Judy’s, they are made of a combination of nitrile and organic material. The organic compound attracts micro-organisms (bacteria, for example) so they can consume the glove material. Once this process is complete the only thing left behind is H2O, CO2 and methane. Therefore their gloves function just like the conventional ones, while it can also degrade more quickly.
Good Judy’s manufacturing partners have studied on how this process impacts on soil and plants exposed to it. They found that the end result of the biodegradation has no detrimental effects on germination or growth patterns.
Nevertheless, these gloves are suitable for all of us. People who work in public utilities, petrochemical, landscaping, janitorial, tattoo parlors, harvesters, pharmaceutical, health care, food processing, museums, spas, automotive, and many more, can use these gloves without problems.
Disposable gloves alternatives
If you’re not a person whose work field requires hygiene and you still don’t like the idea of single-use gloves and you still want to protect yourself while keeping the environment waste-free, then these alternatives might be the one(s) you’re looking for.
1. Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA)
These are lightweight and it’s pretty robust because you can clean with it and you’re protected against cuts as well as abrasions. So, if you deal with a lot of chemicals at home, these gloves will protect your hands, skin, and prevent chemical burns.
Interestingly, these gloves will begin to dissolve with alcohol, which is weird because that’s the name of these gloves. If they meet water, they might begin to degrade, but I don’t know how long until they’re gone.
2. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Yes, I realize that this material is highly harmful to the environment and normally we’d like to stay away from it as far as possible. But if there’s no other options available, you can get high quality PVC gloves that can last a lifetime without having to worry about adding more pollution to oceans and landfills.
High quality PVC gloves are sturdy, puncture resistant, and a lot of workers from commercial and processing fields like the ones dealing with chemicals and oils use these. They feel a bit stiff, but that’s the thick polymer at work that prevents sharp objects from getting through.
3. Neoprene Gloves
Neoprene is much more common as the water-resistant lining in winter gloves or jackets, but there are gloves which are resistant against chemicals and abrasions. They’re strong, if you skid your glove against the side of a cabinet or on a countertop, they won’t be damaged or split. So, you can use these for home cleaning or if you’re dealing with chemicals.
Moreover, they also last long provided that you take care of them. Make sure to clean and dry them regularly (and manually because you can’t machine wash these) since these gloves’ main issue is mold buildup from excessive and constant sweating.
It might be not easy to find this brand because it isn’t open to the market, but you can purchase them. Maybe because mainly these are used in the food processing industry. You can clean and bleach these gloves over and over again and you can use these for a decade or more.
Recycled medical visors
Cascades, a company that provides eco friendly packaging and hygiene items has announced that it will supply recycled medical visors recycled plastic needed to make medical visors to help in the fight against the new coronavirus. This comes in response to an initiative led by the Tristan and Bauer companies, which will ensure the final assembly of the components.
This company manufactures rolls of extruded plastic to supply to Tristan and has planned to start production of a minimum of 1 million pre-cut visors for Bauer starting Monday. These products will be made at the Cascades Inopak plant in Drummondville, Quebec.
With this initiative, Cascades, collaborating with the two companies, is going to bring more companies to provide for medical workers during this pandemic.
Mario Plourde, President and CEO of Cascades said, “Our company is very pleased to be able to contribute to these promising and important initiatives by providing materials and components. We applaud the organizations launching these projects and want to thank our employees for their remarkable agility and dedication.”
Other projects have been submitted to Cascades, and the Company is assessing the feasibility of supplying materials and production capacity needed for their completion. These visors are going to add another production activity for Cascades, however it will not interfere with the company’s usual activity and it will continue to produce essential products.
In their press release, the company said that it “has been recognized as an essential business during this crisis and all of its plants remain operational. The health and wellbeing of its employees remain a top priority and all necessary measures are being taken to protect their safety.”