Innovation That Matters

MEDU has developed PPE that can be recycled up to 50 times | Photo source Pexels

Reusable personal protective equipment

Health & Wellbeing

A startup has developed PPE that can be resused up to 50 times, greatly reducing the amount of medical waste sent to landfill or incineration

Spotted: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global mountain of medical waste and a lack of capacity for dealing with it. The industry as a whole generates around 5 million tonnes of waste annually and a large portion of this waste is PPE. Now, Mexican startup MEDU Protection has developed reusable PPE, including gowns, surgical hoods, and coveralls, that could help reduce the size of the waste mountain.  

MEDU was started in 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, by chemist Tamara Chayo and Thiel Fellow, who had family connections in both the medical and textile industries. The company developed a line of virus-resistant medical garments that can be washed and reused. The fabric is authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks with level 4 biological protection, which means it protects against 99.9 per cent of viruses and bacteria. Each item can be washed and reused up to 50 times.

Each garment has an integrated chip which uses wireless NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to track the number of washing cycles each piece of equipment has undergone. Hospitals can track each garment using an app, and dispose of those that have reached the end of their usability. When a garment has reached the end of its life as PPE, it can be returned to MEDU, where it is disinfected and converted into scrubs or sustainable packaging.

The COVID-19 pandemic supercharged the search for both more sustainable and more effective PPE and other medical equipment. Springwise has covered a number of exciting developments in this area which could help manage the next pandemic, including an antimicrobial coating for textiles that destroys COVID-19 in minutes and a puffer jacket made from used (and decontaminated) medical waste. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff


Download PDF