As we adjust to the new normal with packaging playing an ever greater role in our lives, fears around packaging safety are front of mind. Six in ten consumers now claim to wash their hands thoroughly after touching packaged groceries and household products.
These fears could be eased today following the announcement that DS Smith, the leading sustainable packaging company, is exclusively partnering with Touchguard to develop a new range of bacteria and virus-safeguarded sustainable cardboard packaging across its operations in Europe and North America.
While there is no evidence of virus transfer from cardboard, the easily identifiable touch-safe zones can be applied at scale across a range of industries and applications meaning the anti-viral and anti-bacterial packaging provides an additional layer of protection as consumers and workers throughout the supply chain remain wary.
Not surprisingly, the importance of products ‘packaged in hygienic packaging’ is high among consumers with more than half (57 per cent) saying they wash their hands thoroughly after touching e-commerce packaged products and 30 per cent throw packaging away more quickly. DS Smith’s research, conducted with Ipsos MORI, suggests packaging hygiene will continue to be a priority in years to come.
The new patented technology is effective across a range of bacteria and viruses including envelope viruses, of which COVID-19 is a member. This virus family requires its envelope and spikes to attach and replicate to host cells, but Touchguard® disrupts the envelope to prevent the virus from replicating, effectively mitigating the risk of person-to-person transfer. It has a proven kill rate of 99.5 per cent in under 15 minutes on bacteria types and envelope viruses and eliminates the risk of person-to-person transfer of infections such as MRSA and E.coli.
Alan Potts, Design and Innovation Director for DS Smith commented: “Whilst it would never replace good hygiene practices and due care, this technology has the potential to bring a real and proven additional layer of protection to our customers and their consumers as packaging moves across the supply chain. Importantly, this technology maintains the sustainability of our products and it is 100 per cent recyclable.”
Meanwhile, with 89 per cent of adults say they will continue to shop online at the same level or even more post the summer’s lockdown, this proven technology will further build consumers’ confidence around handling packaging in their homes.
Julian Dugdale, the inventor and CEO of Touchguard said:“Our partnership with DS Smith provides us with an opportunity to bring our patented Touchguard® technology to the market at scale through its sustainable packaging offer. With its manufacturing reach across Europe and the US and an extensive e-commerce and fast-moving consumer goods customer base, we will be able to offer a range of solutions to support changing consumer habits.”
The new range promises to support the sustainable packaging market with potential scope across a variety of areas including e-commerce and food packaging, while still being 100 per cent recyclable. The Touchguard coating and packaging will hold certification to AATCC100 (MOD), ISO18184:2019 (MOD) and also complies with BfR36 recommendations for food-contact materials.
As part of its recently launched Now and Next Sustainability Strategy, DS Smith has committed to closing the loop through better design and by 2023, it will manufacture 100 per cent reusable or recyclable packaging. More details on its wider sustainability strategy can be found here.