As consumers pay more and more attention to hygiene and safety, in this column, we will focus on three emerging materials and coatings. The use of these materials will better protect consumers’ safety when they touch packaging and shop in stores. .
Prioritize contact points in the store. Packaging is important. Use these materials and coatings in the store to protect customers from cross-infection. They are suitable for high-frequency contact points such as door handles, counters, cash registers, and handrails. At the same time, brands should continue to pay attention to environmental protection.
Consumers’ concerns about cross-infection with the new coronavirus will increase the demand for protective packaging solutions made of anti-viral materials.
According to data from Google Trends, the global search volume for “antibacterial packaging” hit a new high in March and May this year. In the past four months, this search volume has continued to be higher than average. With the outbreak of the new crown epidemic, the antibacterial and antiviral packaging market is expected to continue to grow, and consumers will still worry about whether the products they come into contact with are clean.
Recently, “Packaging News” magazine and Sun Chemical of the United States conducted a survey. Feedback from 267 readers in the food and beverage, personal care, medicine, and luxury goods industries highlighted the fact that 72 % of Industry experts engaged in anti-viral packaging material trials believe that consumers are willing to spend more money on the protective product’s packaging.
Although there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to the surface or product of an infected person will be infected with the new coronavirus, the uncertainty surrounding this issue has led to a sharp increase in the research and development of protective materials. As we emphasized in the “Environmental Protection and Innovation: Protective Fabrics in the Post-epidemic Era” report of WGSN Fashion, through the use of protective metals, natural healthy plants, and self-cleaning insect repellents, these solutions help protect people from being subject to viruses, pollution and mosquito bites.
For the beauty industry, innovative solutions are mainly focused on points with high contact frequency in stores, e-commerce product distribution, and the internal and external packaging. This report focuses on three new anti-viral materials and technologies, which major brands can apply to today’s packaging design to create a safer future for everyone.
Copper film: self-sterilizing metal
Kim Marketing’s copper film has the effect of killing bacteria and viruses, thanks to its natural antibacterial properties, which can penetrate bacterial cells and deplete them from the inside.
Reason for concern: Copper has been known for its bactericidal, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects for a long time, and it has been used to assist health and the immune system for centuries. This metal has the ability to detect and kill viruses naturally and effectively and is gradually becoming an important competitor against the coronavirus.
Kim Marketing from India has developed this metal into a fine film that can be easily applied to a variety of surface types. This film has obtained NABL India National Certification and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s certification, and it can kill 99.9% of viruses in five minutes.
The effectiveness of copper can be divided into four stages. When bacteria come into contact with metal, it recognizes copper ions as a nutrient and absorbs them into cells. Once absorbed, copper ions will penetrate the cell membrane of bacteria, causing the loss of water and essential nutrients in the cells. After that, copper continues to suck out all other elements necessary for survival in the cell and eventually leads to cell death by stopping metabolism and respiratory activity.
In addition, all materials of Knam Marketing are made of waste, so this film is not only easy to use and apply, provides a powerful and long-lasting antibacterial solution, but also overuses waste management and raw materials It had a positive impact.
Action strategy: Apply this copper film to high-frequency contact points in stores, offices, and production facilities to protect the health of employees and customers.
Light-activated coating: a combination of crystal violet and gold
A new study by University College London has discovered an anti-viral coating that can kill viruses and bacteria under the light.
Reason for concern: Unlike other technologies that require ultraviolet light activation, the antibacterial coating developed by researchers at University College London can kill bacteria under low-intensity ambient light, such as those found in hospital wards and waiting rooms.
This breakthrough technology protects ordinary products from cross-contamination. The coating is made of tiny gold clusters chemically modified embedded in a crystal violet polymer. Crystal violet is a dye with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
When exposed to ambient light, crystal violet will produce a kind of reactive oxygen species, which can kill bacteria by destroying their protective film and DNA. The researchers also found that the gold clusters added to the coating will produce hydrogen peroxide when activated, which will further chemically attack the bacterial cell membrane. This coating uses only a very small amount of precious metals, ensuring the scalability and economy of the technology, and is suitable for more types of brands.
The researchers tested the inhibitory effect of this coating on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) in a controlled experiment, and they found that both bacteria had a significant reduction.
Action strategy: The use of this coating can prevent cross-contamination of products that are often touched by multiple people. This includes hand soap, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Since these products are used under ambient light, this coating will remain active throughout the day to prevent the spread of bacteria in the home.
Biodegradable non-stick packaging: natural biocomposite materials
This new biocomposite packaging material is made of durian peel, which is antibacterial and biodegradable.
Reason for concern: Researchers at the International Islamic University of Malaysia have developed a new packaging material, which is a biocomposite made of polylactic acid (PLA), durian skin fiber, and epoxidized palm oil.
This innovation takes advantage of the waste generated by the durian fruit industry, turns the remaining peel into PLA biopolymer filler, and adds a natural element to ensure that the material is easier to decompose at the end of its useful life.
The researchers added cinnamon essential oil to the material and treated it with supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2). They found that cinnamon essential oil adds antibacterial properties to the finished product. It is said that this essential oil can break down the outer cell membrane and mitochondria of bacteria, making the bacteria permeable and eventually decomposing.
The study also found that treating this material with scCO2 can speed up its natural process of biodegradation-this material contains a lot of natural fibers, making it an environmentally friendly practice. The biocomposite material was buried in the soil for 80 days, and its degradation was evaluated based on the weight loss of each sample during this period. The weight of the materials treated with scCO2 is reduced by 95.17%.
Action strategy: Although this material was originally developed for the food industry, eco-friendly beauty brands should work with researchers to ensure that it can be used in various industries. This is especially important for brands from farm to face and those dedicated to protecting biodiversity.