Cleanzone Award Prasentation
Recycled 100 % knitted polyester cleanroom wipes
“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is not just a concept; it is critical to the future of our planet. Much of the waste we generate is single-use plastic and since 1950, when plastic started to be used once and thrown away, over 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste has been generated. Of this, only 20% gets recycled or incinerated, with the rest ending up in landfill or oceans.
Life Science companies are becoming more aware of their environmental impact, but being sustainable in critical and cleanroom manufacturing environments presents a challenge; not only because there are high energy costs involved in running cleanrooms, but the concept of reduce, reuse and recycle is difficult to put into practice.
Cleanrooms use consumable products that cannot be recycled because of the ingredients they contain or because they have been contaminated with hazardous materials. For example, protected trigger spray bottles can neither be manufactured from recycled materials nor be recycled.
One option cleanroom users could consider to reduce the amount of single-use contamination control materials used is to launder and resterilise them. This is not a new concept; gowns and garments are regularly laundered and reused. However, there are risks associated with this option for wipes and mops used in high-grade areas.
Best practice for both wipes and mops in a cleanroom environment is to use single-use disposable products. This reduces the risk of cross contamination and ensures that contamination is physically removed from the cleanroom environment at the end of a session.
From waste to wipe
There is now another way to be sustainable in a cleanroom; knitted cleanroom wipes, are manufactured from polyester (polyethylene terephthalate – PET) the same as plastic beverage bottles.
Contec is excited to introduce the ReFIBE brand of wipes — the first of its kind. Made from recycled plastic water bottles, these wipes are made from 100% knitted standard weight polyester with heat sealed edges. These are ideal for cleanroom environments, with the additional benefit that they stop 35 plastic bottles per pack going to landfill or polluting our oceans; therefore, a case of wipes saves up to 840 bottles from contributing to environmental pollution.
How does it work ?
There are multiple steps taken: Firstly post consumer recycled plastic bottles are collected and then chopped into flake and cleaned. The bottle flake is melted, filtered and formed into chips. The chips are melted and made into yarn. The yarn is then knitted, cut and laundered to manufacture ReFIBE wipes.
Incorporating sustainability into the upstream wipe manufacturing process means ReFIBE reliably provides a sustainable single-use option for critical environment manufacturers without jeopardising quality or performance. The wipes are exceptionally clean, low in releasable particles and fibres and are compatible with a wide range of cleanroom solutions and disinfectants. These wipes can be used in place of traditional polyester wipes. ReFIBE wipes are subject to the same quality and process control protocols as virgin polyester products, removing any doubt of quality being compromised for sustainability.