With the rising tensions of covid-19 on the rise, we have been bulking buying face masks and covers in a bet to slow the risk of infection throughout the world. Enormous shifts in supply and demand also have played a huge part in the devastating effects for the environment. How you ask? In this article, we will be focusing on what can be implemented in the fight to save the world.
Is PPE recyclable?
Most PPE or disposable masks are coated in plastic giving them the strength not to tear easily, meaning that they are not recyclable. Because of the massive surge in demand for these face covers or masks, they have become an issue.
Since the world has stopped, experts have claimed that environment and climate change is dramatically reduced, creating a cleaner earth, but with plastic disposable dominating the market, the question is: What damage is being done?
It’s unfortunate that there aren't many forms of PPE that are recyclable. Just because we assume that it's disposable, does that automatically mean it's reusable? In most cases no, because disposable clothing is very cost effective to make and easy to produce, but not so easy to dispose of. What has Irish Linen Properties done to ensure we have less of an impact on the environment? When Lockdown began, there was a lot of protection available in the market.
Even though Irish Linen Properties has been established relatively recently, Our other companies including Fergsuon’s Irish Linen, Franklins Group, and John England have always adopted no plastic waste in our businesses, we understand the duty of care needed to participate in lessening the world's carbon footprint. With a combined experience of 300 years of business, we understand that it is up to the businesses to take the next step in reducing pollution.
Our companies combined have 300 years of experience in providing the finest quality linen in the world, it's all we know. We also have a gained insight into how beneficial linen is:
- Antimicrobial (antibacterial)
- Naturally wicking
- Gentle on skin
The Ocean and Its Inhabitants - Is it sustainable with disposable masks?
One of the main issues with the mass dumping of plastic is how it affects its inhabitants.
Throughout history, the ocean has always been plagued with plastic and non-recyclable products, while there's more of a conscious stance towards pollution in the oceans, is it enough to curve the rise of pollution?
What can be done to improve our consumption of plastic? The best start is the public's attitude towards plastic and where its final resting place is. Many businesses and companies throughout the world to make a conscious effort to do their part to clean the environment, and this is the right thing to do, promoting a positive change. While this has been adopted relatively recently, any impact made is a positive change and also affects the levels of pollution landfills and oceans.
Similar stories always seem to surface on human consumption's. Reported by the Daily Mail in february 2020 is the “Fashion Trash Mountain” in Ghana a mountain of clothes rests standing over 30ft and now probably has considerably more. Interestingly, the majority of the landfill of clothes actually comes from the United Kingdom. With shops now stocking cheap clothes are essentially meant to last a few occasions now populated in the masses across the UK, the number of clothes now thrown away is regularly is on the rise from cheap shoes, t-shirt, and jeans would be at the top of the list.
Studies show that the clothes are made by donation by the general public, who believe they are donating to a good cause to do their party to raise money for charities. But environmentalists are worried that the UK is obsessed with the ‘Fast Fashion’ industry.
The clothes that do end up in Ghana are then sold second hand, creating money and jobs for the locals who go through each item, gathering sellable items to trade with. This is useful because that clothes majority of the clothes are being recycled and being put to good use, but can we say the same disposal PPE? Unfortunately no, this is a sad reality to comprehend when realising for the most part that the word ‘Disposable’ means that it isn’t recyclable.
Should companies producing this disposable waste be fined?
Should companies producing disposable solutions at this time have more of an obligation to change their processes in order to reduce their waste consumption?
Unfortunately as much as we love this to happen, companies can only work with what they have, as many non-essential businesses basically closing overnight. With Irish Linen Properties a supplier of quality Linens, we know exactly how linen can be utilized to benefit the general public. With Linen having extremely useful advantages with the biggest advantage being that masks are reusable and washable, saving you money in the long run. Also these covers or masks are antibacterial, Hypoallergenic, and gentle of skin.
But there continuous efforts being made to try and use alternatives to disposable materials like what we have done in Irish Linen Properties and other companies around the world are doing their own bit to combat the demand for face covers and masks
There is more to come?
Most scientists aren't sure when Covid-19 will end, sparking rumours that we could have to wait almost a year to potentially destroy the virus with a vaccine. The people of the world should be commended for their solidarity to the cause of spreading infection, now it's up the big companies to start shifting to provide something more sustainable.
Experts warn face covers aren’t enough to tackle the pandemic?
Irish Linen Properties has introduced our own Linen Face Covers in an aid to prevent the spread of infection. With our masks, they have many benefits more so than what other face covers are being offered? There are many face covers that are being created, but are they as effective as Linen face covers?
To exactly give a definitive answer to that question, we first need to breakdown what materials are being used to product face covers, focusing on their benefits that are relevant to the current crisis.
Polyester is one of the main materials used around the world and more than likely, most of your clothes are made from polyester.
- Cost effective
- Quick drying
- Tends to not wrinkle
- Little to no shrinkage
Polyester does have some resistance to germs, which is useful when considering purchasing face covers, and it’s also important to consider this when wanting to use the best materials for the job and to keep you protected.
Linen Vs Polyester
Linen is intensely strong material, and it's also even strongest when wet, and can even withstand boiling temperatures for any length of time, this promotes sterilization of linen allowing you to regularly wash and reuse whenever needed, which is an added bonus when considering your face covers.
With Polyester, over the recent decades, polyester processes have been able to mimic other fabrics like silk, suede, cotton and even Linen, but this doesn’t mean that the polyester follows the same properties as the above listed materials. Polyester is very strong, but not not as strong and long lasting as Linen. Other disadvantages include: not breathable like Linen, sticks to your skin if you are sweating or perspire a lot, which can be uncomfortable at the best of times.
Cotton is another fantastic natural material that has been used for centuries. The manufacturing process for cotton is quite different from any other. When cotton is completed, it has some clear advantages like Hypoallergenic, it controls moisture and It will keep you warm from using the heat from your body to trap and conserve heat energy, it is also durable to a certain degree, and most of all, it’s comforting to wear!
Cotton Vs Linen
Yes, cotton is a strong durable material, but compared to Linen, Linen outshines cotton. Cotton and polyester have similar traits in what they can provide in terms of face mask protection. Cotton is Hypoallergenic, comforting, durable, controls moisture, and it will trap heat energy.
Cotton is recyclable and can be repurposed to make new clothes. Cotton is a big player when it comes to sustainability. Every new yarn of cotton has up to 30% recycled materials and it's used to also strengthen new yarn.
Linen fabric is substantially heavier fabric than what cotton comprises of, and it is around 25-30% stronger than what cotton is, further boosting the durability and long last life span of linen.b Linen fabrics are thicker, allowing for better face mask protection.