comment Built-in Antimicrobial Protection Redefines

Cleanliness for Plastic Homeware Products Anke Lee at Microban® International and Felix Charoenchitmun, Business Development Director at JCP Plastic, talk to Housewares on the benefits of antimicrobial protection.


acteria and other microbes, including mould and mildew, can thrive in our homes, growing and multiplying

on high-touch products and food contact surfaces. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly put the need for frequent surface cleaning at the front of many people’s minds, however, common disinfectants only provide a short-term solution. A partnership between an award-winning Thai manufacturer of plastic homeware products and a leading global manufacturer of innovative antimicrobial technologies has addressed this concern head-on, successfully developing a range of kitchenware products with built-in antimicrobial protection. The innovative technology is efficiently incorporated into the products at the point of manufacture and provides 24/7 protection against the growth of microbes, to improve the durability and cleanliness of homeware. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the average consumer probably gave little thought to whether plastic homeware products used on a daily basis offered any degree of antimicrobial protection. Such products would simply be used, cleaned and put away for the next time they were required. That all changed with the arrival of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, which made everyone even more acutely aware than ever of the role that microorganisms play, and how easy it is to unwittingly transfer them between surfaces. Along with concerns for cleanliness, there is also a growing consumer awareness around the environmental consequences of plastic pollution in Thailand, with many looking for more durable and sustainable products that don’t need to be disposed of as frequently. Microorganisms that grow on plastic surfaces can simultaneously create visible discolouration, odour and damage that leads to early product degradation and premature disposal. As a result, consumers are increasingly choosing food containers and other plastic products with antibacterial protection over conventional products, for reassurance that they will remain cleaner and fresher for longer. This, in turn, is generating new opportunities for manufacturers of plastic homeware, as they look to meet the demand for kitchenware that incorporates protection from microorganisms. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly

accelerated the adoption of built-in antimicrobial protection for food containers and other food contact items, such as

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chopping boards. But how is this best achieved? The answer lies in a partnership that combines decades of experience in the manufacture of plastic homeware, such as kitchenware, water bottles and home storage containers, with an intricate understanding of antimicrobial chemistries that can be efficiently incorporated into plastic materials during manufacture. Built-in antimicrobial technologies provide enhanced surface cleanliness and defence against product- damaging microbes, which improves the sustainability of products. They are increasingly being chosen by a whole host of industries to protect materials from an increase in the growth of microbes that can lead to stains, odours and premature product degradation and, ultimately, damaging, long- term consequences. Antimicrobial technology integrated during the manufacturing process becomes an intrinsic feature of the plastic, protecting the product from the growth of harmful bacteria by up to 99.9 %. It continually inhibits surface growth of bacteria by disrupting the vital life processes and biological functions that enable growth and reproduction, causing them to die. The result is a plastic product that is resistant to stains and odours caused by bacteria, staying hygienically cleaner and fresher in between cleaning. Food can potentially be kept fresher for longer and the likelihood of bacterial cross-contamination between surfaces is reduced, giving consumers confidence in the cleanliness provided. This long-lasting and proactive protection against microorganisms also improves levels of durability so that the product is less likely to break under recommended usage conditions, extending its functional lifetime and preventing the need for premature disposal and frequent replacement. But it’s not just the inclusion of antimicrobial technologies that matters. The regulations that apply to antimicrobial protection vary across the world and according to the industry involved, as well as with different customers’ requirements. This is where it is beneficial to work with a global partner with experience in tried and tested antimicrobial chemistries and international certifications from agencies such as the BPR, EPA and FDA, ensuring that the all-important compliance is achieved without compromising quality.

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