PPE is vital to keeping healthcare workers safe, but it often comes with a heavy environmental price tag. Challenging this dichotomy, Tecman have developed a sustainable alternative that provides quality, effective PPE that uses 90% less plastic and reduces the overall carbon footprint in their supply chain.
It isn’t feasible to ditch plastic completely, however, part of Tecman’s ethos is to replace it with sustainable materials where possible. So, the company finds opportunities to innovate in product design, production methods, and packaging choices to use less plastic and waste.
Tecman recently launched Optec™, a reusable face shield system that uses high performance biomaterial technology made from sustainably forested trees. This biomaterial is indistinguishable from regular plastic and can be cleaned indefinitely, creating a more sustainable PPE option.
Their focus on sustainability resonates with healthcare professionals too. Results from Tecman’s recent survey showed 90% of the 156 healthcare professionals surveyed communicated growing concerns about the environmental impact of PPE. Additionally, participants raised issues with the many challenges they face when using PPE, such as uncomfortable or ill-fitting items, and fogging of eyewear.
User Feedback Incorporated into Design Processes
User feedback is a critical component of Tecman’s product design process, who are committed to working with frontline workers to understand what is important to them. Through this regular consultation, they are able to incorporate user feedback into the ongoing innovation and development of their product lines, which ensures they provide optimum user experience.
During the design phase of Optec™, Tecman deliberately prioritised comfort, making it central to every part of the product. Therefore, Optec™ uses a super soft non-absorbent closed cell foam padding that conforms to the contours to improve comfort and prevent pressure sores. The soft yet durable adjustable silicone strap provides a secure fit, whilst reducing movement and slipping during wear time. It’s also why the Optec™ system is separated into two parts, the headband option and screen option, giving clinicians choices that work best for their environment.
Reduced Environmental Impact
By manufacturing Optec™ in this component system, the product is packed more compactly, reducing packaging waste by over 50% compared to alternatives. This compact storage cuts shipping weight by 80%, reducing transportation emissions and providing hospitals with easy-to-store and assemble products.
In addition, the biomaterial and impact resistant screens can be re-used and cleaned up to 10 times using Clinell® wipes and the headband can be cleaned indefinitely. This innovative feature improves organisational sustainability with the same level of user protection afforded by single use alternatives, and fits around existing cleaning procedures within the NHS, avoiding disruption or new equipment outlay.
Sustainable and Cost Efficient
There is often the perception that a more efficient, sustainable product comes with an additional cost or reduced quality. This perception is something Tecman are passionate about changing. Like every product in their portfolio, Optec™ is underpinned by Four Pillars of Comfort:
Comfort – ergonomically designed for optimal all day comfort using skin friendly, medical grade materials
Performance – Optec™ is equally effective at providing protection from spray and droplets as single use products and is fully EN 166:2001 certified when using the impact resistant screen
Sustainability – Optec™ makes use of reusable bioplastic made from trees, is more compact and more effectively shipped
Cost – Optec™ and all Tecman products are cost competitive with imported alternatives, breaking the perceived link between quality and cost. NHS organisations no longer have to choose between budget, staff protection and protecting the planet.
Optec™ provides procurement professionals with a choice that meets both organisation-wide carbon reduction goals and departmental/product cost constraints.
Optimal Quality and Performance
Product quality plays a significant role in ensuring efficiencies within the NHS PPE supply chain. To date, due to Tecman products being quality managed and manufactured in the UK through an established quality management system, they have 100% product quality record with no faulty or subpar product reported either by end users within the NHS or from medical distribution partners. By supplying quality face and eye protection with guaranteed performance Tecman support efficiencies within their customers supply chain, helping reduce the additional costs and resource associated with handling subpar product.
This has never been more relevant than during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with containers of imported subpar or faulty product contributing to the critical situation of PPE availability. Supply chain security from trusted manufacturers and suppliers became a front and central topic and highlighted how critical supply efficiencies are.
Tecman are passionate about playing a leading role in ensuring the UK has the capability to provide critical protective equipment to the NHS both now and into the future, so key workers do not face the same desperate situation again.
Article was written by Medilink Member Tecman – for more details please contact Jo Talbot – firstname.lastname@example.org