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OUR PACKAGING

Since we launched in March 2020, Virustatic Shield® has taken a pioneering approach to making better and more sustainable choices. We keep challenging, innovating and seeking alternatives to the status quo and what has been done before. We’re constantly striving to find better materials and practices, not just in our innovative Award-Winning products, but now also in our packaging.

Researchers have estimated that up to 14 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year – that’s the equivalent of a rubbish truck every single minute. It’s growing problem and it’s why we believe that single use is no use. 

We have now partnered with #INVISIBLE to help us achieve our commitment to eradicate single-use, non-degradable plastic at Virustatic Shield®.

  • All of our mailer bags, and the packaging for our new Ergo SHIELD®, are now 100% plastic free, water-soluble, biodegradable and compostable. Some of our Original SHIELD® product will continue to arrive in old packaging as we phase out the old and transition towards the new, with our focus on being a 100% single-use plastic free company.

  • We are committed to the continued development of a sustainable materials chain which has all the advantages of modern, highly functional and technical materials in their primary and secondary uses but combines it with real end-of-life options.

  • It has been thoroughly tested and found to be non-toxic, breaking down into water, carbon dioxide and ‘mineralised biomass’, a natural biological breakdown step of the carbon in the material into carbon dioxide and water. As the material degrades, smaller oxidised polymer chains are formed that eventually break down to carbon dioxide and water.

  • The material does not form toxic microplastics or yield any harmful products at any stage of the breakdown and biodegradation process. The ink used is also non-toxic, so there are no nasty chemicals produced as the bag breaks down.

  • Our #INVISIBLE bags are made from a specially formulated polymer resin using Polyvinylalcohol (PVOH). PVOH is still a polymer, but the major differentiator from traditional plastics is that the material is hydrophilic (i.e. it loves water). This means it breaks down quickly in the marine environment without attracting other toxins or forming microplastics, as traditional polymers would. 

How to dissolve our packaging?

Packaging FAQ

I like your new packaging, what is it?

Our #INVISIBLEBAG packaging is water-soluble, compostable, biodegradable, proven to be non-toxic and leaves no harmful residue on earth. It does not contain PP, PE, PS, PVC plastic and does not form microplastics when it breaks down. 

What is your packaging made of?

Our #INVISIBLEBAG packaging is made of a water-soluble and biodegradable combination of Polyvinyl Alcohol, starch, glycerin and water. We also use eco-friendly ink, which does not contain heavy-metal ions or benzene and is proven to be non-toxic. The recyclable card insert in the Ergo SHIELD® packaging is made from renewable FSC compliant paper. Some of our Original SHIELD® product is still in our old packaging as we transition to 100% single-use plastic free.

How do you dissolve the #INVISIBLE packaging?

We recommend dissolving it in 80°C hot water or above. Simply put the bag in a container and pour boiling water on top, after a few minutes it will have dissolved. After the dissolution, you can pour the remaining liquid down the sink, down the drain, or down the loo, where the wastewater will be treated at a sewage plant. After being consumed by microorganisms, it will completely break down to only carbon dioxide and water, with no formation of microplastics.

Does it have to be hot water or will #INVISIBLE packaging dissolve in cold water?

Our packaging also dissolves in cold or room temperature water, just at a slower rate.

What is Polyvinyl Alcohol?

Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH), is a water-soluble and biodegradable synthetic polymer. It is used mostly for medical purposes such as medicine capsules but is also used for contact lenses and laundry detergent pods.

PVOH is still a polymer, but the major differentiator from traditional plastics is that the material is hydrophilic (i.e. it loves water). This means it breaks down quickly in the marine environment without attracting other toxins or forming microplastics, as traditional polymers would. It has been thoroughly tested and found to be non-toxic. The material does not form toxic microplastics or yield any harmful products at any stage of the breakdown and biodegradation process. The ink used is also non-toxic, so there are no nasty chemicals produced as the bag breaks down.

What is left after dissolving it in water? Is there any formation of microplastic?

We have partnered up with various experts in the fields of chemistry and engineering, and according to literature, PVOH is recognised as a water-soluble and biodegradable synthetic polymer. This means it is water soluble and is also able to be biodegraded by microorganisms, breaking down into carbon dioxide and water with no trace of microplastics.

So, what happens when the packaging dissolves?

Once it’s dissolved and the solution has been poured down the sink, toilet or drain, the remaining residue continues to breakdown via microorganisms in our water treatment facilities. Other conventional plastic polymers (PP, PE, PS, PVC) may biodegrade but this process can take decades and even then, they will fragment into microplastics, which end up in our oceans, rivers and waterways.

Is your #INVISIBLEBAG biodegradable & compostable?

#INVISIBLEBAG has been tested under ASTM D5511 requirements and the result shows more than 85% biodegradation in 90 days under landfill conditions. It is also certified compostable according to the US Standard ASTM D6400 and the European Standard EN13432. The ASTM D5511 determines whether a material is biodegradable under high-solids anaerobic-digestion conditions. The result shows more than 85% biodegradation in 90 days. While the ASTM D6400 is the North American equivalent of the European EN 13432, any material certified with ASTM D6400 and EN13432 is compostable, whereby 90% or more of the material will be converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) by microorganisms within 180 days in ideal composting conditions. No harmful residues are left behind and the remaining share is converted into water and biomass.

Is #INVISIBLE packaging plastic-free?

Yes! We have completed the FTIR analysis which proved our packaging has zero trace of PP, PE, PS or PVC plastic.

Is #INVISIBLE toxic or harmful to the environment?

Our #INVISIBLE packaging passed the oestrogen equivalent (EEQ) test, showing no oestrogenic activity. This test is conducted by Vitargent, a biotechnology lab testing company based in Hong Kong. It conducts oestrogen equivalent (EEQ) tests to screen chronic toxicity. Our packaging shows no oestrogenic activity and is confirmed to be environmentally safe, with no trace of harmful elements to humans, animals or nature. EEQ test uses modified medaka embryos with jellyfish DNA, which is cruelty free, to detect the environmental oestrogens and chronic toxicity.

If your packaging ends up in the landfill, will it truly biodegrade?

#INVISIBLE has been tested under ASTM D5511 requirements to determine the anaerobic biodegradation of #INVISIBLE under high-solids anaerobic-digestion conditions and the result shows more than 85% biodegradation in 90 days.

What ink do you use? Is it also environmentally-friendly and non-toxic?

The ink on our packaging is environmentally friendly ink containing no heavy metals, benzene or ketone. The oestrogen equivalent (EEQ) test confirmed the #INVISIBLE ink to be environmentally safe and non-toxic. Excessive rubbing may cause the ink to run.

Can I recycle #INVISIBLEBAG?

Since #INVISIBLE is water-soluble, it does not enter the recycling programme and it should not be mixed up with your household plastic recycling. The bags can be reused before being dissolved in hot water or composted (if there are commercial composting facilities in your town/city; check with your local council’s waste services) in order to reduce your carbon footprint. They will also biodegrade in landfill conditions if the #INVISIBLEBAG ends up in the bin.

Can I carry it in the rain?

As #INVISIBLE is water-soluble and hydrophilic, remember not to expose it to rain and

carry an umbrella to protect both the bag and its carried items. When it meets

condensation or light raindrops, the bag will not break apart abruptly, however, its tensile strength will be slowly decreasing. A small splash of fresh water will not affect the product but the packaging will look softened and wrinkled. If exposed to heavy rain, its strength and structure will quickly weaken and will tear apart.

My order has arrived and the Original SHIELD® is not in #INVISIBLE packaging?

All of our mailer bags, and Ergo SHIELD® packaging, are now 100% plastic free. We still have a number of Original SHIELD® products in existing packaging and is not yet in our new #INVISIBLE packaging. We have made the decision to use up our existing packaging and phase out these plastic garment bags, rather than dispose of them. Otherwise, the existing packaging would be sent unused to landfill which we do not think is a responsible solution.

What exactly is the difference between compostable and biodegradable?

With all the information out there these days, it can get confusing trying to work out what biodegrades, what can be composted, what can go in a landfill, what can’t, etc.

The main differences to be aware of are: biodegradable products break down naturally by microorganisms whereas compostable products also break down but require specific conditions in which to do so. Most products will actually biodegrade, but this can take years depending on the material and can still leave microplastics behind in the process. If a product has been certified compostable according to the international standard ASTM D6400 or EN 13432, this means that it has been proven to biodegrade within a certain time frame in specific composting conditions. Likewise, if a product is certified biodegradable, it has proved to biodegrade by a certain amount within a specific time frame but not in composting conditions. We know it can be difficult trying to make the right purchase so just make sure to always double check the materials label and look out for plastic based ingredients.