There are an estimated 300 million disposable gloves used in New Zealand each year, accounting for 1,440,000 kgs of glove waste alone. Glove usage is mandated in many industries, including New Zealand’s major meat processing companies, writes Eagle Protect’s Lynda Ronaldson.
Currently glove recycling is not a viable economical or environmental option – due to bio-hazardous contamination and high incineration temperatures required. However, food and meat processing companies can easily reduce their environmental impact by considering glove type, weight and most importantly quality; instantly reducing their glove usage and waste.
Eagle Protect supplies the majority of New Zealand’s food processing industry with disposable gloves and clothing and has a focus on reducing our customers’ impact through better quality products. Three years ago, Eagle brought this philosophy to the US, unique to glove and clothing companies supplying the North American meat and food processing industries and is now the supplier to some of the major US meat producers and food retail companies.
In the last six months alone, Eagle Protect New Zealand and US has diverted a staggering 114,872 kgs of glove and packaging waste from landfill (this is the equivalent of about 265,000,000 straws!), with a reduction of 286 metric tons of CO2 and over 26,497,882 litres of water. We have achieved this by simply by switching customers to quality gloves that are stronger, thinner and made from better ingredients; resulting in an instant reduction in usage and, in most cases, cost.
Disposable gloves are not a sexy topic, but they do present an easy opportunity of improving your business’ environmental footprint. Thinner, stronger, better quality products also improve food safety and can bring cost savings. In contrast, poor quality gloves can be responsible for the cause of recalls – the USDA’s recalls for soft plastic foreign matter contamination, most likely due to cheap gloves, affects the brand reputation of the companies in mention.
Consumer and customer demand for better transparency is encouraging companies to focus on reducing waste and carbon emissions across their supply chain. Partnering with a glove supplier to review your product usage and assist your environmental goals is a simple and effective way to make an immediate positive environmental impact.
Lynda Ronaldson (right) is vice-president of marketing for Eagle Protect, a certified B-Corporation and one of MeatExportNZ’s support partners. Now US-based, Ronaldson says she enjoys the solitude of running, reading and creating and is also learning Spanish. You can read more about Eagle’s environmental and sustainable practices here.