Nitrile exam gloves, used by the hundreds of millions every year in Australian dental and medical practices, end up in landfill and take hundreds of years to break down. In a major step forward for the environment, Mun Global, a subsidiary of Hartalega, the world leader in Nitrile glove manufacturing, has introduced revolutionary biodegradable nitrile gloves to its range.
"Our new GloveOn Avalon range of nitrile exam gloves are a real game changer for the environment," said Leonard Brown, General Manager of Mun Global Australia. "The Avalon range has been specially formulated to include an organic additive which attracts microbes found exclusively in landfill and anaerobic environments that break down polymers naturally. This mineralisation process only begins once the gloves are surrounded by the microbes present in landfill environments. Under these conditions, the gloves biodegrade up to 30% in less than 7 months and up to 90% in less than 18 months in optimum anaerobic conditions.
"This process only triggers once the gloves are exposed to these specific conditions. Other than that, the gloves perform clinically like any other nitrile glove and can be stored for long periods of time without degrading.
"I should stress that the breakdown of the gloves is a natural, organic process that does not damage the environment," Mr Brown said. "There are other products on the market claiming biodegradability, but these are only breaking down into micro particles of nitrile rubber which can then end up in our food supply. The technology we have so far incorporated into the GloveOn Avalon range results in a complete organic breakdown that is both natural and safe."
Mr Brown said that the adoption of this technology was driven by customer feedback at the environmental harm caused by the thousands of tonnes of medical waste being generated each year.
"Wearing gloves is a cornerstone of standard precautions in infection control and gloves must be changed between patients. The amount of waste being generated is not lost on clinicians and these concerns are regularly voiced to us. Incorporating this technology into our gloves gives clinicians peace of mind that impact to the environment is being reduced without impacting the efficacy of their infection control regime."
Mr Brown said that the company intends to incorporate this organic technology into its entire portfolio of nitrile gloves as a priority and without increasing prices.
"This will be the standard moving forward for all of our nitrile gloves," Mr Brown said. "We see it as a moral obligation to reduce the environmental impact of our products and there is and never will be any premium to the price of our gloves to adopt a biodegradable product. If you have a choice of two brands of gloves at the same price and one option is biodegradable, then our customers are telling us they will make the right choice for the environment."