Disposable Gloves for Food Service
In any foodservice business, disposable gloves are a necessity. To ensure that the food you prepare stays clean and sanitary, they provide foodservice workers with durable hand coverings. Together with sustainable packaging solutions, these are a must to keep the safety and quality of your ingredients.
Whether your employees need to mix dough or toss salad greens, you can find the disposable gloves you need. Foodservice has a variety of needs, and gloves are a must in almost every situation. Here’s everything you know about this personal protection equipment.
Understanding the Value of Disposable Gloves
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods concluded in 1998 that direct contact between bare hands and food plays a vital role in transmitting foodborne illnesses. Employees can very quickly shed viral pathogens. Those who become ill and some employees may shed these pathogens before they realize that they are sick.
While they have low infective doses, people don’t have to ingest a lot of these pathogens before they get sick. During their council, the FDA recommended that handwashing alone is not enough to prevent the spread of these pathogens.
Using gloves is a vital recommendation from the FDA, as they help protect your food from potentially dangerous pathogens. Preparing food that won't be cooked before reaching the customer is imperative.
When putting on gloves and removing them, employees must wash their hands properly. It is necessary to wear gloves when handling food that will be served to consumers. Many foodservice employees mistakenly believe that gloves protect their own hands when in fact they are to protect the end consumer as well. Using single-use gloves appropriately can reduce the spread of disease-causing organisms.
Types of Gloves In Food Service
Disposable gloves have two main functions in the foodservice industry:One is to protect your hands from potential contaminants. The other is to help you maintain a safe and clean environment. There are five materials to choose from when it comes to selecting the appropriate type of glove for food prep.
Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that provides good barrier protection. It resists oils, acids, and chemicals. It can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It is highly resistant to the chemicals found in skin cleansers and hand sanitizers. This makes it very useful for a wide variety of applications.
Latex is a natural material found in the sap of the rubber tee. It is not resistant to oil, acid, and chemicals, and it should not be used with items that will come in contact with heat. These are ideal for those working in kitchens. They are great for handling acidic foods and come in powder and latex forms. They are form-fitting, which makes them great for gripping.
Vinyl is also a natural material and is a popular choice. It is ideal for food preparation and is relatively inexpensive. It can handle everything from water to grease. These are commonly used for employees prepping counter service or floor service. They are great for manipulating cold foods such as yogurt or ice cream.
Polyethylene is a synthetic material that is commonly known as plastic. They are the most economical gloves, thin and made for light-duty tasks and come in handy in settings where frequent glove changes are necessary. These are commonly used in fast food chains, buffets, and sandwich delis where glove changes happen frequently as tasks change. They are convenient, but due to the high usage, can be one of the least earth-friendly options.
Biopolymers and Compostable Polymers are essentially bio-based plastics that are produced from natural sources and chemically synthesized from biological materials. This material resembles plastics visually and tactically but are actually biodegradable or compostable. They are a great alternative to polyethylene gloves because they serve the same function, can be used in food handling and are great for tasks that require frequent glove changing. And what’s even better is that they emit 80% less carbon dioxide in the manufacturing process than petrochemical-based gloves and leave behind no toxins when they break down at the end of their life.
How Many Gloves Are Disposed Of Daily?
An estimated 300 billion disposable gloves in the United States are ending up in landfills each year across various industries. Approximately 30 billion disposable gloves are used in the US food industry every year. Most of these gloves are vinyl (PVC) disposables, with estimates ranging from 45 to 75 percent.
Vinyl gloves do not offer a barrier to bacteria and viruses after use and they are a potentia toxicity risk. Bacteria can quickly pass through vinyl gloves due to micro-tears and holes large enough for the barrier to breach in minutes.
According to estimates, vinyl gloves are used for approximately 50 percent of all gloves currently used in the US food sector (15 billion gloves). They cause about 160 million pounds of vinyl waste annually - the equivalent of over 150 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Sustainability In Food Service
In 2014, the National Restaurant Association released sustainability guidelines for the foodservice and hospitality industries. These guidelines serve as best practices that help businesses reduce their environmental footprint. They cover all aspects of operations.
The guide outlines ways to conserve energy, including reducing water and energy usage in buildings. Focus is placed on designing, constructing, and operating more efficient facilities. They also outline ways to conserve water, reduce food waste, and improve recycling practices.
However, missing in these guidelines is the proper use of sustainable gloves that can help reduce plastic usage. While eco gloves are not an entirely new concept, they are still a novel way towards sustainability. The sustainability movement is still gaining ground.
What Are Eco Gloves
In today's world, many companies are looking for ways to help the environment. Consumers are embracing eco-friendly products and while going green is a trend, it is a trend that is here to stay. One easy way to go green is by using Eco Gloves in your business.
Eco gloves aim to replace the current disposable plastic gloves used in the foodservice industry. They are made with renewable resources and recycled content. By using these, you are helping to reduce waste due to their biodegradable nature.
These innovative food-safe Eco Gloves come from renewable resources using vegetable matter. They are biodegradable, which means that they break down and return to nature quickly and lower the environmental impact of plastic.
How Eco Gloves Support Sustainability
Plastic is the fastest-growing landfill item in the world. It can take up to 1,000 years to degrade and release toxic gases when exposed. Unfortunately, only 10% of plastic waste is recovered.
These eco-friendly alternatives biodegrade in about 1-3 months. They are made from agriculture-based and plant-based materials that support sustainable agriculture. Eco gloves are also compostable, which will decompose in a commercial compost facility. This is much better than having these items go into landfills, where they will sit for hundreds of years.
These environmentally-friendly products are also an excellent choice for a more sustainable operation. They help reduce the number of unnecessary items sent to landfill sites. You can see companies cut down their plastic waste without compromising on their business productivity.
Eco gloves also support sustainability by minimizing the impact on our environment. They contribute to a healthy planet by reducing pollution and working towards preventing climate change. Because these are made from natural and sustainable products, they are better for the environment.
The Bottom Line
Gloves are a crucial part of foodservice, ensuring the safety and health of customers worldwide. Then again, disposable plastic gloves are bad for the environment - but there’s something every business can do.
Eco gloves provide a safe alternative to disposable gloves. They’re compostable and biodegradable, so they don’t add to your carbon footprint. See how eco gloves can solve your plastic problem, one disposable glove at a time.
Article credit: Arleen Atienza