The Cache Effect
SMALL CHANGE, BIG ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
When you use a pack or tub of pre-wetted wipes, your impact on the environment is decided for you. Pre-wetted wipes are typically made of single-use plastic. After each use, you throw the plastic wipe away.
We conceived Cache to curb the disposal of single-use throw-away plastic.
Cache lets you decide how you apply your chosen chemistry, whether with a microfibre cloth or biodegradable dry wipe. And we have designed our containers to be kept and wherever and whenever possible, re-used.
But how can you be sure that the cleaning or disinfecting power of your chosen chemistry will not be affected by your choice of wipe?
THE ANSWER LIES IN EN 16615
EN 16615, also referred to as the 4-Field Test, is the European Norm used to measure the efficacy of a chemical disinfectant applied by wiping. Scientists selected the “Tork Blue Wipe” to simulate the worst-case wipe substrate in the medical area. When demonstrating efficacy using this wipe substrate, a disinfectant can be applied with any type of dry wipe. Using a chemical disinfectant with an EN 16615-pass allows you to choose an eco-friendly and cost-effective dry wipe that works for your facility.
All ClO2-based Cache products have passed EN 16615. This means you can choose the dry wipe you want to, and you no longer need to be tied into one single-use plastic wipe option.
With Cache, the choice is yours. By making a small change, you can help make a big environmental impact.
To discover more about The Cache Effect and better understand the problem of pre-wetted plastic wipes, read on below.
UNDERSTANDING THE CURRENT CLIMATE: PRE-WETTED WIPES
Right now, in hospitals around the world, staff are wiping down surfaces with detergents and disinfectants. This job never ends, and for good reason. Daily infection control measures such as surface wiping are essential to maintain a safe environment for patients, staff, and the public.
The most used product for the job? Pre-wetted wipes.
HOW MANY PRE-WETTED WIPES ARE USED?
Flow wrap packs and tubs of pre-wetted wipes are convenient; they can travel around the hospital with no need for preparation. As a result, pre-wetted wipes are used in abundance every day. Procurement figures from 2017 show that the National Health Service (NHS) bought over 4 ½ million surface wipes in one year. That is 400 tonnes of wipes, and amid understandable concerns over health and hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, every detergent and disinfectant pre-wetted wipe product sold by the NHS Supply Chain hub went out of stock.
SO WHY ARE PRE-WETTED WIPES MADE OF PLASTIC?
Wipes must be able to carry a detergent or disinfectant solution from point of manufacture to point of use (or to the end of the product’s shelf life, which is usually a few years at least) without any degradation of the wipe, the chemical, or their combined ability to kill microorganisms. Plastic, the hardiest and longest lasting material available, can easily achieve this.
Non-plastic fibres such as wood pulp or cotton are highly prone to breakdown, heavy-linting, and active ingredient retention. Without plastic, the basic performance criteria of a pre-wetted wipe cannot be achieved.
WHAT’S THE BIG PROBLEM WITH PRE-WETTED WIPES?
Here comes the uncomfortable truth; pre-wetted wipes as well as their laminate packaging are made almost entirely of plastic.
This means that in 2017, pre-wetted wipes generated approximately 400 tonnes of non-recyclable plastic waste.
Whilst the importance of surface wiping is clear, these plastic products leave an enormous environmental footprint behind. The disposal of pre-wetted plastic wipe waste is a hidden financial and environmental cost. Consequently, from the manufacture, shipping, storage, and disposal of these wipes, all elements of the supply chain impact the environment.
When using a wipe on a surface, it might be disposed of in general waste. This means the plastic ends up in landfills. When using a wipe on a surface with a high risk of contamination, it will be disposed of in clinical waste. This means the plastic will be burned, and its gaseous by-products released into the air. Incinerating 400 tonnes of plastic wipes results in 2.4 million kilograms of carbon dioxide gas emissions. It would take 39,685 tree seedlings ten years to undo that environmental harm.
Furthermore, pre-wetted wipes are highly prone to drying out. When this happens, even more wipes are used to compensate. A pre-wetted wipe provides no flexibility when it comes to the disinfectant liquid, because you get what the wipe can hold, and nothing more.
The gist of it:
Plastic, for all the reasons it appears in pre-wetted wipes, is a fantastic material with a lot of value for chemical products. But when combined into a mixed material product such as a pre-wetted wipe, the plastic can never be recovered or recycled.
LET’S CLEAR UP WITH CACHE
The Cache Effect enables hospitals to eliminate the use of pre-wetted plastic wipes and use products of the highest level of biocidal performance. In all cases, Cache products deliver the wipe and the solution separately.
The Cache Collection’s TANK delivers concentrated solutions in plastic capsules. Capsules that burst their contents into tap water, be rinsed out and recycled. The small volume of concentrate solution creates a larger volume of diluted solution that can be decanted and distributed in bespoke reusable bottles and containers. One Cache capsule holding 200ml of concentrate solution can make the equivalent of 2,000 pre-wetted wipes.
Moreover, with this type of product, hospital staff can apply the exact amount of liquid needed to cover a surface and spread that liquid with any type of dry wipe, such as a paper towel or launderable cloth. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. If you take away the need for plastic, then finding an alternative becomes a whole lot easier.
That’s right, paper towels!
The European Norm EN 16615 is a wiping test that manufacturers must test their product to before selling into healthcare environments. EN 16615 uses paper towels to spread the solutions onto a surface. In fact, if you can pass this EN test with a paper towel, then you can recommend any wipe is used to spread your solution. This is what all Cache products have achieved.
By designing flexibility into our products, and removing non-recyclable single-use plastic, Cache ensures that sustainability is always considered. The Cache Effect: Making the environment a forethought, not an afterthought.