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Environmental report details how new packaging concept for DuPont™ Tyvek® Classic Xpert can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions 

The results of a reporti, commissioned by DuPont, reveal that the new DuPont™ Tyvek® Classic Xpert Eco-Pack can have a significantly reduced impact on the environment when compared to its standard packaging format. Accordingly, over the entire lifecycle of the packagingii, there is the potential to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by three tonnes CO2 equivalent, achieve a saving of 77,700 MJ of primary energy, and decrease solid waste by 820kg. Besides the environmental benefits, the new Eco-Pack can help users of the garments avoid costs relating to the handling and disposal of packaging at the end of their useful life.

In its standard packaging form, each Tyvek® Classic Xpert garment is individually packed in a polybag  together with a user manual (referred to as Instructions for Use, or IFU). 25 coveralls are then grouped within a value pack, and each box contains 4 value packs, making 100 garments per box. “As part of DuPont’s new Tyvek® Classic Xpert Eco-Pack packaging concept, the 25 garments within the value pack are no longer individually packed, and there is just one user manual per value pack. Hence the packaging saving equates to 100 percent in terms of the polybags, and 96 percent in IFUs,” explains Deborah Sondag, marketing specialist EMEA, DuPont Protection Technologies.

Fig. 1. Left
Fig. 1. Right
Fig. 2.

Fig. 1. The reduction in packaging associated with DuPont™ Tyvek® Classic Xpert Eco-Pack is clear to see (left: the packaging waste from a single standard box of 100 garments, right: the waste from a single Eco-Pack box of 100 garments).

The report, entitled The Environmental Benefits of Packaging Reduction, and carried out by BIO by Deloitte, quantifies and compares the environmental impact of both packaging concepts using a standardized Life Cycle Assessment approach.  As a first step, a life cycle inventory is created for the individual stages involved in the production of the polybags and IFUs, their delivery to DuPont  (up-stream processes), their onward transportation to customers and ultimate disposal (down-stream processes). Thereafter follows an evaluation of their environmental impact in terms of global warming potential, air acidification potential, net water consumption, primary energy demand and waste generation.

Three separate scenarios were considered for the assessment, differing in terms of number of garments shipped, shipping distance and end-of-life scenario (landfill, incineration or recycling, depending on the waste management practice of the destination country).  Based on a shipment quantity of 35,000 coveralls transported by truck to France (scenario B), the following benefits of Tyvek® Classic Xpert Eco-Pack over standard packaging were predicted: 

Impact category

Avoided amount

Unit

 

 

 

 

Climate change

3045

kg CO2 eq

Equivalent to

The impact on climate change of

35

Paris-Toulouse flights for one passenger

Acidification

18

kg SO2 eq

Equivalent to

The impact on acidification of the monthly electricity consumption of

15

European inhabitants

Net Water Consumption

58

m3

Equivalent to

The water consumption required for

332

Baths

Primary energy demand

77731

MJ

Equivalent to

The primary energy demand of the monthly electricity consumption of

14

European inhabitants

The primary energy demand of

1698

Kg of crude oil

Waste creation

823

Kg

Equivalent to

The monthly municipal solid waste generation of

21

European inhabitants

Deborah Sondag continues: “In a context where environmental impacts are more and more important regarding the communication strategy of a firm, DuPont wants to provide its customers with clear environmental claims on these improvement actions, allowing them to easily integrate the related environmental benefits within their own environmental management program.”

Tyvek® Classic Xpert is the market-leading Type 5 (particulate) and Type 6 (liquid) disposable protective garment. Indeed, whilst there are many alternative garments also certified as providing similar levels of protection, a detailed look at their results delivers greater insight as to their actual barrier performance of the garment in question. For instance, the average total inward leakage of particles into a Tyvek® Classic Xpert garment, measured as part of the testing requirements for Type 5 protective clothing, is just 1 %. This compares favourably to 5% for a typical microporous (MPF) film garment or 10% for a typical SMS garment (see figure 2).  Factors determining the particle barrier provided by the garment include the fabric used, seam construction and overall design.

Figure 2: Average inward leakage of various Type 5 protective suits (TILa, average value for 20 items in percentages for all activities in accordance with EN ISO 13982-2). Suits taped at mask, leg and arm seams and zip fastener covering.

Also in terms of providing a durable barrier to liquid, it is worthwhile looking at Tyvek® performance in closer detail: In tests used to determine the resistance of fabrics to liquid penetration and permeation, Tyvek® is demonstrated to provide a high barrier both before and after abrasion, while the levels of competitive materials are either inferior from the outset or fall away spectacularly after abrasion.  

For further information on the Tyvek® Classic Xpert Eco-Pack, and its reduced environmental impact, please visit www.tyvek.co.uk/ecopack.