A Midlands firm is leading the way when it comes to reusable personal protective equipment (PPE).
Anze pioneered the creation of reusable medical materials and the company believes there is a strong case for the wider use of these products and for ditching single-use PPE.
The firm, which employs 28 people in Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, has been manufacturing reusable gowns for doctors, nurses and patients, as well as drapes and scrub suits for more than 20 years.
Because of the pandemic, Anze has seen a major surge in demand for its products, both in the UK and from abroad and, at its peak, the company was producing more than 5,000 reusable surgical gowns a week.
The NHS focus has historically been on single-use products, which hospitals have to throw away afterwards. During the pandemic, the disposal of one-off PPE has created millions of tonnes of waste.
Figures from the Textiles Services Association show that if the NHS switched to reusable PPE instead of throwaway products it could make an annual saving of £1.2B.
Anze’s Managing Director, Richard Lamb, says the time is right for more organisations to make the switch to reusable products:
The throwaway culture is expensive and leads to a mountain of waste.
Twelve months ago, we were in the early grip of a pandemic which has sadly cost thousands of lives. For those tasked with handling the threat of Covid, it was a case of ‘all hands on deck’ to source enough PPE for hospitals, GP practices and care homes.
Back then, the idea of having PPE which is also reusable was not high on the agenda. But more than a year on, we can take a step back and fully evaluate the situation. I believe it’s now time to fix the system and reap the rewards.
The gowns made by Anze are treated with a special finish which means they can be washed up to 75 times and re-used without being sterilised.
The company was directly involved in drawing up the standards now adopted Europe-wide, to ensure the right quality of product.
Reusable gowns can be 100% recycled at the end of their life and made into new products. Because they can be washed after being worn over other clothes, they also have the potential to support safe visits by relatives to loved-ones in care homes.