In News & Views, Partner News

Plastic pollution is a topic currently dominating the global news feed.

Recent statistics have shown that European’s are responsible for 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. This alarming figure has catapulted the EU into action, with Brussels now vowing to invest £310m into modernising plastics production. They are also aiming to eliminate single-use plastics, such as throw-away cutlery, straws and coffee cups, by 2030. The reality of plastic waste is even forcing supermarkets to acknowledge it as an environmental scourge, with the world’s first plastic-free food aisle recently being unveiled at Ekoplaza in Amsterdam.

So what more can be done to help us win the war on plastic pollution? BioCote® recommends introducing antimicrobial technology into a greater range of plastic products. And here’s why.

5 benefits of antimicrobial plastics

Antimicrobial plastics last longer

Antimicrobial additives are proven to increase the functional lifetime of a plastic. Once manufactured into the material, they will work to minimise the presence of bacteria that can cause the plastic to degrade quicker. This means that a product made from antimicrobial plastic is more durable, making it easier to harvest if disposed of irresponsibly.

Antimicrobial plastics are more hygienic to use

Last year, the UK government proposed a 25p ‘Latte Tax’ on disposable coffee cups in a bid to discourage people from adding to the 2.5 million strong ‘cup mountain’ that plagues our environment every year. Although it has since been rejected, this levy has led to a surge in the purchase of reusable cups – but these are not without their issues. Public Health England recently announced that reusable cups can harbour harmful bacteria, posing potential health risks to the people that use them. So how can this issue be addressed? Apart from encouraging better cleaning practices, antimicrobial plastics would be a great consideration for the manufacturers of reusable cups. The additive contained within the plastic would minimise the presence of harmful bacteria, making the cup more hygienic to use. With a ‘super cup’ in their possession, we think people would be more than encouraged to ditch the disposables.

Antimicrobial plastics are protected against staining and bad odours

It is not uncommon for people to prematurely dispose of products due to their apparent shabby appearance. Often, it’s bacteria that will cause unsightly staining and bad odours, leading plastics to go yellow in colour and/or harbour foul smells. Antimicrobial plastics are protected from the bacteria commonly responsible for these aesthetic fails. What’s more, the additives imbuing them with their antibacterial properties will not affect the clarity or performance of the plastics, meaning people are likely to keep them for longer.

Antimicrobial plastics will perform for their expected lifetime

Introduced at the stage of manufacture, antimicrobial additives will imbue a plastic with antibacterial, antimould and antiviral properties for its expected lifetime. So, whether it is used to make a water bottle, a baby toy or a piping system, that antimicrobial plastic will remain more hygienic for many years to come.

Antimicrobial plastics are in demand

According to Grand View Research, the demand for antimicrobial plastic is expected to soar over the coming years due to its increasing penetration in packaging and consumer products. There is also a rising demand for plastics as a substitute for traditional materials in medical instruments, including medical ventilators and anaesthetic machines.

If you are a manufacturer and want to differentiate your plastic products, contact the team at BioCote® today to see which of our award winning antimicrobial additives we would recommend for you. Remember, our additives can be added to any material type in a compliant and cost-effective way – meaning you will have an antimicrobial product that performs to the highest possible standards without breaking the bank.

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