Since the pandemic, global demand for single-use gloves has soared, resulting in alarming new levels of pollution, with millions of discarded gloves ending up in landfill and our oceans.
With typical single-use gloves taking decades to degrade, it has created a significant environmental impact on our already struggling planet.
With healthcare professionals needing to regularly change their gloves to protect themselves from infectious diseases and cross-contamination during treatment or examination, the ecological disaster can seem insurmountable, but a new product is making inroads in rectifying the problem.
Techtile’s biodegradable nitrile powder-free, non-sterile examination gloves from Aussie Pharma Direct are designed to be eco-friendly without compromising on the chemical, biological and physical protection of the end-user. Made to biodegrade in landfill through a microbial process, the loves do not generate micro plastic after the biodegradation process.
So how does it work?
Daniel Seldon from Aussie Pharma Direct says that the degradation process includes two steps. “In the first step, the surface of the glove undergoes erosion, whereby the outermost layer is broken down.In the second step, microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, secrete enzymes to chemically break down the glove materials. The resulting products are methane, carbon dioxide, and inorganic material that are readily consumed by the microbes.
“A special additive in the glove helps to expedite this process by attracting the specific microorganisms from landfill soils that are able to digest the nitrile glove materials.
“The biodegradation rate is at least 10 times faster compared to conventional gloves. For example, if a conventional medical examination nitrile glove takes 30 years to biodegrade in landfill, Techtile’s biodegradable nitrile gloves would only take three years, and there is no need for any special equipment or chemical to aid the process,” says Seldon.
Suitable for allergy sufferers
In addition, there is a rising prevalence of latex allergy among healthcare workers who have to wear gloves to keep themselves safe. Symptoms can include swelling, itchiness, shortness of breath, congestion, or in the worst-case scenario, anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction which can be life-threatening, so besides their eco credentials, these gloves offer an alternative healthy solution for those impacted by allergy.
The gloves are free from latex protein which eliminates the Type 1 Immediate Hypersensitivity reaction and are designed with an accelerator-free formulation to minimise the risk of Type IV Delayed Hypersensitivity reaction.
Listed on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), these gloves provide a practical end-of-life solution to reduce the accumulation of the ever-expanding waste in our fragile environment.