Plastics industry excels during coronavirus pandemic
| Subj: Press-releses
After first paralyzing China, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is now testing the very fabric of societies worldwide. It is challenging governments, companies and individuals alike, while reinforcing the key role played by plastics and polymers in keeping people safe and healthy.
The irony is that, until recently, plastics in some quarters was being considered the scourge of the earth, from a sustainability perspective. But the need to find ways to contain the spread of the virus and to both serve patients and protect healthcare workers and others has served to underscore the very properties that help to make plastics so vital to society — including its ability to promote hygiene while being highly disposable.
Single-use plastics play key role
Meantime, the demand for certain types of plastic-intensive products is soaring. This includes housings and parts for medical gear such as respirators and ventilators, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers such as masks, gowns, and goggles. And as hospitals and clinics in some areas struggle to keep up with the patient influx, other standard medical products continue to help the cause — from polycarbonate syringes and IV components, to PVC medical tubing and blood bags.
3D printing to the rescue
In Wisconsin, meanwhile, a U. S. plastics publication recently reported, PET sheet manufacturers, 3D printers and packaging companies are joining forces to turn out clear plastic face shields that are badly needed in the University of Wisconsin health system.
Ineos Styrolution donates masks
Copper-infused compounds kill bacteria
Techmer blends the copper with polymers such as polypropylene, polyester and nylon and supplies it in pellet or flake form to firms such as Virginia-based EOS Surfaces, which press-molds it to make solid surface countertops and tables that have been proven to dramatically reduce the incidence of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). The compound, which also can be impregnated in fabrics (such as bed linens, hospital gowns or face masks) is proving to be effective against the COVID-19 virus, in addition to the bacteria that cause staph infections.
Others have long been incorporating antimicrobial additives into plastic compounds to reduce the transmission of various diseases.
Plastic packaging protects food
It surely is true that sustainability-related challenges remain as regards plastics waste, and the resultant issue of ocean plastics, but there can be no denying the good that plastics plays every day, but particularly now during the current pandemic crisis.
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