Disposable Vs Reusable
We all know that disposable cleanroom clothing guarantees sterility, and comes with a lower initial capital outlay than reusable clothing. There are, however, some key benefits to using reusable, permanent clothing.
For the pharmaceutical industry, there is a view that the primary focus on sterility to decrease the bioburden in the cleanroom. Whereas the driver for electronics manufacturers is on particulate control. The fact is that today’s reusable clothing can perform both functions while keeping the wearer comfortable.
For instance, the Integrity range of reusable, permanent clothing is specifically designed and manufactured from lightweight, non-linting, polyester carbon compound filament yarns, which provide the required cleanroom performance with a more pleasant experience for the wearer. And as they can be sterilized by gamma irradiation, they can be used whatever the driver – sterility or particulate control (or both!).
A greener choice
There is also an environmental viewpoint to consider. A 2015 study which compared reusable cleanroom coveralls with disposable alternatives (through the complete lifecycle – from raw materials, to use/reuse, and final end-of-life disposal) concluded that reusable coveralls provide:
- 56% lower natural resource energy consumption
- 57% of lower carbon dioxide equivalent emissions
- 77% lower total water consumed (blue water) and
- 95% reduction in stable waste stream at the cleanroom facility
Other things to consider
Each organization needs to make its own choice between reusable and disposable clothing.
Sometimes the decision is based on how frequently cleanroom attire is needed. In an R&D setting, the frequency would probably be significantly less than in a pharmaceutical production facility, which may make the investment of permanent clothing unfeasible. However, large-scale organizations using cleanroom clothing daily can cause significant savings by switching from disposable to reusable clothing.
A second area for consideration is the laundry process and associated costs. In many instances, organizations outsource the laundry process – laundering can be outsourced irrespective of where the clothing has been purchased from – but the management and costs of this process need to be considered.
If you would like to find out more about our permanent cleanroom clothing range, and the range of options available to make it bespoke to your facility’s needs, contact the team for details and a quote. We’re happy to help.
To view the synopsis of the 2015 life cycle analysis of cleanroom coveralls, visit the ARTA website