How to reduce PPE wastage

How to reduce PPE wastage

clock-circular-outline Posted 5 Jul 2022



It’s easy to think of PPE like safety gloves as disposable items. But do organisations really need to get through as much PPE as quickly as they do, or are there actions they can take to limit wastage? Nick Grinnell investigates…


How can I reduce my PPE wastage?


Reducing PPE wastage starts with an understanding that modern PPE need not be used just once and then thrown away. High quality safety gloves, for example, can be washed and re-worn for up to a month and perhaps longer before reaching the end of their useful life.


If organisations invest appropriately at the outset in good quality, well-made and ethically-sourced PPE products, reducing wastage should be a matter of putting in place the appropriate controls to ensure employees on the ground are educated and incentivised to get the maximum life they can safely get from their individual allocations.


Reducing PPE wastage through sustainable choices


When it comes to being more environmentally-friendly, we look to the 3Rs for guidance: reduce, reuse and recycle. Often PPE like safety gloves and safety footwear cannot be safely re-used or recycled due to the stringent safety standards that need to be meet. It has also been difficult (but not impossible!) to manufacture PPE from recycled materials due to the durability required.


The first and perhaps main area where businesses can effect noticeable change, though, is by reducing the amount of PPE they use.


Take safety gloves as an example. We often speak to clients whose warehouse or assembly line workers go through at least one pair of gloves each per day, and sometimes more. For businesses with 100 employees, that’s more than 2,000 pairs a month!


By switching to a higher quality safety glove that costs a little bit more, that number drops dramatically to just 100 pairs a month, resulting in a 95% reduction in waste as well as providing a long-term cost saving to the business.


Find out more: Discover the best safety gloves for warehouse work, tried and tested.


Our top tips:

  • Purchase safety gloves in a dark colour. This will keep them looking fresh for longer and reduce the risk of them being thrown away while they still have life left in them.
  • Provide employees with a belt clip that they can hang their gloves on when they take a break.
  • Don’t believe everything you read online – it is easy to unknowingly fall victim to greenwashing. Genuinely environmentally-friendly products will have the independent verification to back up their claims, so do your due diligence before you spend your money.
  • If your work environment is subject to temperature changes with the changing seasons, ensure your employees are provided with different gloves for the summer and winter months so they aren’t tempted to double-glove and throw one or both away at the end of the day.


Read our blog on common problems with safety gloves in warehousing and how to avoid them.


Reducing PPE wastage through controlled allocation


We’ve talked before about how control shouldn’t always be seen as a negative.


When it comes to allocating workwear and PPE, implementing some sort of guided buying whereby you offer your employees an element of choice within boundaries set by you as their employer can be an effective way to reduce unnecessary wastage and save you money at the same time.


At iSB Group, we offer our customers access to a self-service online portal through which they can provide their employees with a bespoke portal of pre-approved products and set limits on how much and how often they can order.


By not having new, replacement items of PPE and workwear readily available, and each person having their own dedicated allocation that they can’t exceed without special permission, employers eliminate a throwaway mindset in their workforce and incentivise and empower their employees to take good care of their workwear and PPE.


Reducing PPE wastage through fresh thinking


Ultimately, reducing wastage in any area of a business comes down to encouraging a fresh way of thinking about what you use and how you use it. For example, could you provide hi-vis polo shirts rather than hi-vis waistcoats. A waistcoat isn’t as durable as a polo shirt and is more susceptible to getting snagged and torn over time. Hi-vis polo shirts will look smarter for longer allowing you to reduce the overall amount of workwear you need to purchase.


For further advice and information on reducing waste in your business while maintaining safety and quality, give our team a call.

By Nick Grinnell

You might also like

clock-circular-outline Posted 26 Mar 2023
clock-circular-outline Posted 26 Mar 2023