Covid 19 Packaging Guide. What's Safe?
Clearing the misconceptions of transmission and packaging a packaging guide for retailers and consumers.
COVID -19 Packaging Information for Retailers & Consumers
As people have become more dependent on businesses or marketplaces that can deliver and allow trade online, packaging has become all the more important amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
There is a lot of speculation on the transmission of the virus of being less through traditional forms of cardboard and paper packaging and the risk it poses. Being a fully integrated packaging manufacturer, this is our observation.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, COVID-19 Particles can live on cardboard surfaces for up to 24 Hours with variables such as temperature, air quality affecting the length. However, most cardboard packaging found in retail and ecommerce goods is usually lined or printed to seal the inner or outer surface and protect the good inside as well as from light moisture that eats cardboard. Therefore, it is of our opinion these particles will live for the same length as which is two to three days if they were on a shiny or smooth surface such as plastic.
The Centers for Disease & Control mentioned, consumers face a low risk of spreading the virus from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.
Further exploring between the lines a few assumptions are given first, that items are shipped over a period of days or weeks this implies the particles will die/become inactive by the time they reach to you. Secondly it also assumes, your packaging travels in ambient conditions which is a very broad term and partially baseless as ambient conditions differs for types of packaging, countries and content and nor do we know what conditions catalyse the spread.
Furthermore, the same New England Journal of medicine also suggested that people may acquire the coronavirus through the air and after coming into contact with contaminated objects as the virus is quite transmissible through the slightest touch, making this pathogen very hard to contain.
Therefore, the same if not at least half the same precautions should be taken when it comes to receiving goods and as you would wash your hands when coming into contact with a person, one should disinfect both their hands and the goods they receive in the same manner.
The problem this creates is that cardboard packaging, kraft paper packaging and general paper packaging cannot be disinfected without damaging the product inside or the packaging itself which is often used as a container. As the virus is airborne it cannot be paper or card packaging cannot be resealed either post use to prevent any other types of contamination nor does it have any significant barrier properties.
In contrast, plastic packaging of all types both conventional and recyclable formats can both be disinfected without damaging the packaging or the products.
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Furthermore, according to the UK governments various publication for suppliers. All produce or parts MUST be either disposable or decontaminatable and all external surfrace must be cleanable in the event they get any respiratory secretions on them.
Cleaning must be achievable through manual wiping using approved surface wipes with disinfectant, clothes and approved surface cleaning liquids thus rendering carboard and paper useless & in fact dangerous.