Single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) has its place. But that place is probably not outside of a medical facility, even during this serious global pandemic. For most people, reusable antimicrobial arm sleeves and masks are clearly a better form of protection in the context of their day-to-day lives.
Here are some reasons you should stop buying single-use masks and gloves and replace them with quality reusables:
Using Them Is Unsustainable
While they create an effective barrier against germs, single-use PPE has to be replaced after each use. For something like a single-use rubber glove to be effective, you’ll have to get rid of them right after you touch something contaminated. There is no easy way to effectively clean single-use gloves either, so if you use them to hold on to a handrail or press buttons on an ATM, you have to ditch them right after to avoid cross-contamination. Likewise, single-use masks have to be replaced within a couple of hours of you using them.
Unlike reusable PPEs that use technologies such as HeiQ’s Viroblock treatment, single-use PPE’s don’t actively destroy microbes they come in contact with. This means users also need to be extremely careful about how they use them. You shouldn’t touch or readjust them after you put them on and you have to treat them as if they are already contaminated the moment you use them. While these guidelines are sensible for medical staff in the controlled environment of a hospital, it can be too much to expect regular folks that just want to lead a normal life to follow them perfectly.
They’re Bad for the Environment
Because there is no effective way to wash or sanitize single-use protective gear, you’ll end up going through a lot of them, especially if you’re serious about keeping yourself protected. If you have a job that requires you to commute or be in contact with a lot of people, you’ll find yourself going through a lot of single-use PPEs.
As a result, used PPEs have already started to comprise a good proportion of the trash in our landfills. That is if they do make it to landfills. Chances are you have already seen a lot of discarded masks and gloves on the sidewalks and off the side of the roads where you live. A lot of these discarded PPEs will make it to our oceans and wildlands, further exacerbating an already serious problem with pollution.
These items are usually made from plastics and other non-biodegradable materials, which is bad in itself. However, they are also biohazardous waste, which makes recycling them problematic.
They Can Cramp Your Style
This might seem like a shallow reason on the surface, especially when public health and safety are involved. But there is nothing wrong with wanting to live a life where you’re free to express your mind and your sense of style. Thankfully, generic-looking single-use PPEs are not your only option for protecting yourself in public. Some makers of reusable antimicrobial protective gear offer masks and hand protectors in a variety of stylish patterns.
Whatever your style, you’re sure to be able to find reusable PPEs that not only offer protection but help you elevate your outfit as well. For a lot of folks out there, these custom patterns can very well mean the difference when it comes to maintaining their confidence and mental health.
Medical Professionals Need Them More
While single-use PPEs are not the best option for day-to-day protection, they are absolutely essential for medical personnel. The huge surge in the demand for single-use protective gear has left healthcare workers struggling to maintain the minimum standards of sanitation in medical facilities.
By switching to quality reusable, self-sanitizing masks, and hand protectors, you can do a lot to prevent shortages in medical facilities where single-use PPEs are needed the most. Not only will you be switching to a form of protection more suited for your daily needs, but you will also be helping ensure that our healthcare workers working on the front lines have access to the critical protection they need.
They Can Make Other People Uncomfortable
Most single-use PPEs are conspicuous. In a time where not everyone might understand the risks of the pandemic the same way you do, wearing things like disposable gloves in public can make some people uncomfortable or even hostile. Antimicrobial hand protectors and masks such as the ones by Ghluv allow for a more discreet look and design that makes it easier to blend in if needed.
When used outside the context of a hospital or medical center, single-use PPEs have several serious downsides. For the majority of people living in this so-called “New Normal”, reusable antimicrobial masks and hand protectors are the better choice not only for everyday protection but for maintaining a better quality of life as well.