TOTOWA - Precision Textiles, a supplier of coated fabrics, nonwovens and laminations for the bedding, automotive and healthcare industries, is expanding its commitment to the development of more sustainable products with its newly launched EcoGuard material.
The domestically produced, eco-friendly fabric was developed for use in personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically disposable medical isolation gowns. This material contains an additive that helps it biodegrade up to 99% faster than typical polypropylene gown material.
“EcoGuard adheres to our corporate mission to manufacture products that pose low environmental risk,” said Scott Tesser, president of Precision Textiles. “Isolation gowns produced with polypropylene materials can take over 600 years to biodegrade in a landfill, leading to the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The additive in our EcoGuard material accelerates the biodegradation process to approximately six years, reducing the CO2 footprint that is harmful to the environment.
“Cost-wise, gowns made with EcoGuard make a great deal of sense. Not only are they better for the planet, but they are also in the same price range as the polypropylene gowns we make in our manufacturing facility.”
The additive in the EcoGuard material releases enzymes that allow the gowns to serve as food for microbes to consume, thus dramatically speeding up the biodegradation process. These gowns are easy to dispose of, the company says, and recycle after use, which further helps the environment by reducing the waste mass in landfills.
Tesser added: “I am surprised that no one has been talking about the issue of polypropylene in PPE, especially at a time when COVID-19 has created a tremendous need for PPE for those on the front line providing medical care. These gowns are disposable, so they go right into landfills, making their biodegradation an important issue, especially since eco-consciousness among consumers continues to be on the rise.”
Medical isolation gowns certified by AAMI are classified at four levels depending on the medical applications in which they are used. Gowns manufactured with EcoGuard are appropriate for applications ranging from AAMI Level 1 basic care to Level 4 high-risk situations.
According to ADTCC-ASTM guidelines, these gowns must pass tests for resistance to liquid penetration on impact from sprays and for liquid penetration on impact under constant and increasing hydrostatic pressure.
Made in the USA, EcoGuard medical gowns also comply with the Berry Amendment, which restricts the U.S. Department of Defense from using funds to procure clothing, fabrics, yarns, fibres, other textiles and food that is not grown, produced, reprocessed or reused in the United States.