New fabric technologies are creating an eco-friendly workwear and PPE range which is easy care, washes effectively at lower temperatures without added chemicals and can be recycled and remade at the end of a garment’s lifecycle. Meryl Fabric’s range of soft-touch tunics, trousers, scrubs, dresses and polos shirts are made from fabric which provides comfort, quality, durability and protection and an infinite recyclability to lessen the environmental impact of a garment’s functionality and care.
The fabrics are made using a unique twist and weave which give as a cotton-like feel and ensure that a garment does not absorb dirt into the fabric. This prevents stains and odours from developing and moisture is wicked away making it the ideal choice for use in extended wear applications.
This helps caring for a garment made with Meryl Fabric easier as no matter how soiled or contaminated the garment, it can be cleaned simply by using water at 40°c and a standard cleaning agent with no need for additional chemicals.
These features also benefit PPE which can be exposed to bacteria and viruses. The yarn is made by a process using a silver ion, widely recognised as having antimicrobial properties, and HeiQ Viroblock NPJ03 technology provides antiviral protection. Bringing these together gives a permanent protection against viruses and bacteria - even Covid-19 - no matter how many washes they are put through.
The fabric’s construction means that like dirt, any viruses and bacteria stay on the surface rather than penetrating the material so can simply be washed away. Tests under ISO 20743 show that 99.9981% of viruses and bacteria are removed in a standard wash.
This can offer a more sustainable option for those needing PPE. It can play a major role in stopping the spread of acquired infections and transmission of viruses by preventing cross-contamination and lessen reliance on single use PPE non-recyclable plastic items for certain tasks so contributing to sustainability.
Peter Broom, pictured above, innovations director at Meryl Fabrics said: “Our fabrics are designed so that when it comes to washing either workwear or PPE, there is no need for any special treatment. As any soiling stays on the surface rather than entering the fabric all that is required is a standard 40°c wash which can be an energy saver and there is no need to add additional agents, surfactants or other chemicals to achieve required results.
“The fabric’s easy-care attributes also make it ideal to use where laundry facilities are limited such as care homes, hotels or cruise ships.”
Washing at lower temperatures is just part of Meryl Fabric’s eco-credentials. The fabric is made using a waterless and solvent-free process saving up to 3,000 litres of water for each 600m of fabric made when compared with traditional manufacturing methods.
Its garments can also address an industry ‘hot topic’ in that they do not shed any microfibres. Made using a hydrogen bonding system, the microfibres are sealed to the yarn and become an integral part of the fabric. This means there is no shedding during the washing cycle which stops a potential pollution problem.
At the end of a garment’s working life instead of being sent to landfill and taking up to 200 years to decompose or being burned, Meryl Fabrics simply collects the items so they can be re-polymerised and used to produce the yarn for new fabric to remake the garments.
Everything is done within Europe which ensures its production processes meet recognised environmental, safety and workplace standards. Every item has a reduced carbon footprint as transport needs are minimal between the different manufacturing stages.
Broom added: “Our range is the perfect example of the circular economy as we make and then recycle the workwear all within a closed loop supply chain. Our product range is one which shows that workwear and PPE can be an important part of an organisation’s green ambitions.
“Technological advances in the material’s manufacture makes items greener and this can continue throughout their lifecycle by making them easier to clean and care for. It shows that there is no need to sacrifice comfort, durability and practicality to be sustainable.”