SBS Forum on PPE and Textile Care 2020
Strengthen the PPE sector and circular economy – A path to safe and responsible Europe
The recent COVID-19 crisis has exposed the limited capacity of Europe’s safety equipment manufacturers. Although demand for PPE products surged to unprecedented level that global capacity was not prepared for, Europe’s dependency on the global value chain showed its fragility and threatened the security and wellbeing of its citizens. The EC response through faster conformity assessment procedure and impose of export authorisation scheme through regulations EU 2020/402 and EU 2020/568 were able to
- quickly make PPE available in the market and
- ensure EU market needs before supplying other markets.
The apparent dependency on disposable masks also brought up discussions on reusable solutions. The consistent use of reusable solutions can make a significant contribution to achieving the EU's climate policy goals as well secure the local supply with PPE. However, some standards like the EN 14683:2019 for medical face masks, only cover disposable products and do not take into account reusable (washable) solutions. Product life extension is a fundamental element of the textile services business model. With the need to draft harmonised standards for the PPE Regulation 2016/425 and Medical Device Regulation 2017/745 there are opportunities to include requirements related to reuse, reprocessing, repairability and recyclability.