Posted at 18 February 2021

The changing market for single use gloves

Paul Skade
By Paul Skade
Category Manager, Industrial MRO and Safety

I’ve been in the Tools and MRO industry since leaving school 45 years ago. I’ve enjoyed a wide and varied career in a variety of Sales and Procurement roles in th...

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The demand for single-use gloves has increased in the past few months. It is undeniable that the spread of the global pandemic has changed the dynamic between the supply and the demand for single-use PPE. The prices of raw materials have gone up, manufacturing facilities have been shut down (temporarily or partially) and more people are choosing to use gloves every day to protect themselves. 

It is time to find a solution before the problems are dire. Opting to use reusable gloves will allow workers to be protected without the hassle and increased concern about purchasing more single-use gloves regularly. 


High Demand and the Shortage of Supply; A Dilemma for All

The forecast for 2021 estimates that 585 billion single-use gloves will be needed but even the most optimistic prediction shows that only 370 billion gloves can be manufactured this year. This leaves us 215 billion gloves short. Considering that many countries can still go into lockdown and disrupt the manufacturing process we might end up producing even fewer single-use gloves in 2021.

Substituting Single Use Gloves

Choosing reusable gloves is an option for both chemical and mechanical applications. Opting for reusable gloves will ensure that the workers are protected and that there will be minimal issues in keeping them protected. Reusable nitrile and latex gloves can be used as alternative solutions to non-medical grade disposable PPE which are running low or becoming unavailable. Mechanical gloves that provide a barrier protection against oil and liquid should be selected as substitutes to single use gloves.

Choosing the best protection: EN ISO 374-5 Virus standard

Gloves are a part of the battle against COVID-19. Choosing gloves that have been certified under the EN ISO 374-5 Virus standard will ensure that the wearer is protected against viruses. The EN ISO 374-5 Virus standard measures the ability of gloves to protect users against bacteria, fungi and viruses. Gloves with EN 374-5 Virus marking have been proven to not leak when tested according to EN 374-2:2014.

Download Ansell's Guide to Cleaning Reusable Gloves

The difference between Reusable, Limited or Single-Use PPE

Before you embark on choosing an alternative during these unprecedented times it is vital that choices are being made with caution. Understanding the needs for protection, for effective work and worker comfort will ensure that the switch from single-use gloves will be successful and accepted by the workers. Reusable gloves are designed to withstand cleaning and repeated exposure to hazards. Limited or single-use gloves however need to be discarded once they have been contaminated.

Single-use and reusable gloves also differ in their feel and protection capacities. Single-use gloves are thinner providing high dexterity and excellent touch sensitivity while reusable gloves are often designed to offer much higher levels of protection especially against harsher and more hazardous chemicals. Evaluating these factors are important when you are considering making the switch.

Cleaning and disinfecting reusable gloves

Proper care and cleaning methods that are recommended by experts will ensure that the glove life and protection offered is maximised. Ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to preserve the fabrics and coatings on the mechanical gloves. Download a copy of the guide provided by Ansell for the best cleaning methods based on your needs and the type of glove, by submitting thr form above.

Using reusable gloves as opposed to single-use gloves will change how PPE is distributed and handled within an organization. It is important to note that choosing to use reusable gloves allows the workers to clean and reuse their gloves multiple times which would mean fewer gloves are purchased hence need to be manufactured. Making the switch will ease the strain on the single-use glove market and allow the supply to reach the frontlines and protect those at the highest risk of COVD-19 exposure. 

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