Technological watch

The technology behind sustainable medical workwear

Peter Broom, co-founder and technical innovator at Meryl Fabrics, explains the technology behind achieving a fully sustainable and comfortable medical and care workwear.

× Rob Lacey

Rob Lacey Photographer Editorial, PR & Corporate PhotographyHeadshots, Conferences & Corporate Events Based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire covering the Midlands, South West & London T: 01242 861118 M: 07802 542598

Meryl Fabrics is changing the way we think about, use, and dispose of textiles.  

Managing to combine design, comfort, quality and wellbeing, the team are creating safer environments for workers and a cleaner planet for everyone by providing large industries such as the medical and care sector. 

About the uniform  

Manufactured using a hi-tech smart fabric with a full circular economy, zero shedding and virus, bacteria and odour technology, the Meryl Nurses Tunic offers an environmentally friendly workwear solution for the healthcare industry.  

The soft-touch Nurses Tunic is made from a fabric which provides comfort, quality, durability and protection, and with infinite recyclability, all of which lessens the environmental impact of the garment’s functionality and care.  

Manufacturing the garment 

The manufacturing process aims to minimise the impact of the garment on the environment, reducing the use of water and eliminating microfibre pollution, offering a more sustainable option for those requiring and sourcing PPE. The garment can play a major role in stopping the spread of acquired infections and transmission of viruses by preventing cross-contamination, while also lessening the reliance on the use of single-use PPE non-recyclable plastic items for certain tasks.  

Sustainability is a significant aspect; through advanced hydrogen technology, starting from the highest quality molecular structure of the yarn, we have delivered a high-performance fabric which does not release microplastics, is manufactured with no water consumption or use of chemicals, and is 100% recyclable. 

The choice of material 

The yarn used to create the uniforms is made by a process using a silver ion, widely recognised as having antimicrobial properties, and this technology provides antiviral protection.  Bringing these together gives permanent protection against the likes of MMR and even COVID-19 – no matter how many washes they are put through. The fabric’s construction means that dirt, viruses and bacteria can simply be washed away as they away stay on the surface rather than penetrating the material.  

For performance, the fabric of the tunic is made using a unique twist and weave process which offers a cotton-like soft touch, while ensuring the garment does not absorb dirt or stains into the fabric, therefore preventing odours from developing.  

Meryl Fabrics have virtually eradicated all production waste at the manufacturing stage, which can be as high as 22%, by returning, weaving, and cutting waste for reuse in new yarns. All colouring and treatments are applied to the filaments at the spinning stage of the yarn, removing the need for chemicals and solvents that are normally used in the finishing process. 

The sustainable pros 

The circular economic implications constitute a significant step forward in recycling; taking both pre- and post-consumer product back to reuse in new fibres allows for a full circular economy – we return the waste to its original base polymer, producing new yarn with a straightforward process and using it for new manufacturing. This environmentally friendly fabric maintains its quality with all the performance, together with an exceptional touch. 

Furthermore, the company has a hugely reduced transport throughout the manufacturing process, significantly lowering the product’s carbon footprint from its creation to the end of its life, when it can be fully recycled and made into another sustainable development. 

The medical and care uniforms produced are the perfect example of the circular economy, as Meryl Fabrics makes and then recycles the workwear all within a closed-loop supply chain. Technological advances in the manufacturing of the material are making items greener and this can continue throughout their lifecycle by making them easier to clean and care for, demonstrating that is possible to become more sustainable without sacrificing comfort and durability.  

Back to Search Results Tags sustainability materials Featured Latest Issue issue 68 North America issue 24 PPE (Personal protective equipment)

Publication date: 17/02/2023

Medical Plastics News

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31