How materials science is helping to slow the virus

Jon Lawson
Will the jeans of the future will be anti-viral?

Efforts to tackle the tidal wave of plastic waste have been hampered by Covid-19 as previously reused items are being disposed of for hygiene reasons. Packaging is one area in particular - but there may be a solution. Two companies, Returnity and Polygiene, have teamed up to create a reusable packaging product, treated with Polygiene's ViralOff antimicrobial solvent. Mike Newman, CEO of Returnity, commented, “What we do at Returnity is build out these reusable solutions and empower the broader systems necessary for companies to shift to the circular economy. By creating this system that prioritises safety with antimicrobial coating for our packaging, we are providing a legitimate reusable option that the consumer can feel good about - from both a safety standpoint and an environmental one.” 

Ulrika Björk, CEO of Polygiene added, “Our vision is to change washing and disposal habits, and significantly reduce the environmental impact of a product. When we met Returnity, we realised that our objectives were aligned and that there was an opportunity to work together to further enhance their reusable boxes and bags by treating them with ViralOff. Anti-viral treatments have been a game-changer while navigating the pandemic and we believe that these treatments will become the new standard for reusables in the future.”

An initial US$500,000 order has been placed. 

Polygiene treats other materials like textiles, and now jeans manufacturer Diesel intends to use it to treat its denim products. Testing is underway with a view to launching in next year’s spring line. The company says it “has the capacity to disable over 99% of viral activity within two hours of contact between pathogens and fabric. ViralOff has shown efficacy against a comprehensive range of viruses, including Covid-19. It works by interacting with key proteins, inhibiting the virus from attaching to textile fibres.” 

Diesel is hoping it will also make its products last longer.

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