Personal protective equipment (PPE) has become an essential part of the workplace for many businesses. It provides support for staff and customers, along with social distancing and other COVID-secure utilities, to ensure that everyone is safe during the pandemic.
Wearing face masks is an important issue for many during the pandemic. The World Health Organisation suggests that their use could cut transmissions by as much as 85 per cent. A survey by the UK Government explored the primary reason for buying a face mask during the pandemic. 45 per cent of people have bought a face mask to reassure and protect themself and their family, while 33 per cent have bought a mask to follow Government guidance.
However, the use of PPE has come at a great cost for many businesses. At the start of the pandemic, the cost of this equipment inflated beyond reasonable measures. The price of face masks and sanitiser increased by 1,000 per cent in April 2020, while reports indicate that they still 400 per cent above their original price.
Disposable face masks are accessible for many businesses using PPE. However, with the continuing pandemic, the use of these is environmentally and financially unsustainable.
More customer-facing businesses are set to open in the approaching months, with the demand for PPE set to increase yet again. Instead, reusable equipment should be prioritised to help businesses meet their environmental goals and to save money during a financially adverse period.
Here, we look at the cost of PPE, and why reusable equipment could help save your business.
Throwing money away
Reusable face coverings are an accessible entry point for businesses investing in PPE. Readily available, they are used once and thrown away. However, the advantages end there.
A disposable face mask costs, on average, 45p when bought in bulk. This cost seems small, but over time the total expense is devastating. Using a disposable mask every day for a year can cost £164. For a business with just 100 employees, you’re looking at a bill of £16,400, before splashing out on other PPE essentials such as sanitiser and protective screens.
Surgical standard masks cost even more, with a filtering face piece (FFP) costing as much as £30. Safety is always valued during the pandemic, but surely there are more economical alternatives.
With the inflated cost of disposable face coverings, reusable face coverings are a sustainable alternative. Fabric face masks can be washed and reused by employees. They produce less waste than disposable face coverings over their lifetime. They are also more comfortable and their protection improves with each wear.
While the initial cost is more than a disposable face covering, even after a short period, the investment creates significant savings.
A certified, sustainably-sourced, and triple-layer fabric face mask can cost as little as £4 This is only 2.4 per cent of the average total yearly cost of disposable face masks. Quality fabric masks can last beyond this period.
If a business employs 100 people, this could equate to savings of around £16,000. This represents 1,720 hours of paid work at the living wage in the UK. For a full-time worker, at 30 hours per week, this represents over one year of working hours.
For businesses in the retail and hospitality sector, the pandemic has created a financial crisis. Therefore, saving money and reinvesting funds into business survival and growth is essential. By investing in reusable and quality PPE, businesses can then afford to grow their business in other aspects.
The face of your business
Reusable PPE doesn’t only offer financial incentives for your business. In fact, they can benefit you in terms of brand appeal and recognition. Fabric face coverings can be customised with brand images and logos, reflecting the culture and values of an organisation.
Think of PPE as just another part of your workwear clothing. How can it be used to identify staff? For customer-facing roles, this can be incredibly useful. A face mask in your business’ brand colours allows consumers to recognise staff and that they can be approached.
Even more, while the face mask can hide a customer-friendly smile, using your logo or a positive brand image can reinforce a feeling of kindness and hospitability.
Social distancing and COVID-secure regulations such as the use of PPE are expected to continue for the majority of 2021. Businesses should adapt to these expectations during the pandemic and add value to their organisation through reusable and customisable face coverings. The investment can save money and save your business.