After seeing healthcare professionals constantly use them, you may be wondering, “are nitrile gloves biodegradable?” This article will help you answer that question as we thoroughly discuss nitrile gloves and their eco-friendliness.
From medical facilities to science labs, several industries use nitrile gloves. Whether you work in healthcare, hospitality, or research work, you are likely to start your day by wearing these protective gloves.
Slipping your fingers in these disposable nitrile gloves creates a protective barrier around your hand. This barrier protects you from germs, bacteria, and viruses, as they can’t come in direct contact with your skin, preventing the risk of infection or transmission.
Besides preventing infectious microorganisms from entering your body through skin and fluids, nitrile gloves protect you from hazardous chemical burns. So, these gloves are especially handy in protecting you from cross-contamination between surfaces.
Since medical and research industries use nitrile gloves as an alternative to latex, it is logical to wonder whether or not nitrile disposable gloves are biodegradable. So today, we’ll cover everything you need to know on the subject. Let’s start with why learning whether or not nitrile gloves are biodegradable is so important.
Why Does it Matter if Nitrile Gloves Are Biodegradable?
Nitrile disposable gloves are imperative in protecting individuals working in risky environments from infections and illnesses. While they are certainly helpful in limiting the spread of infection, disposable gloves do have an impact on the planet.
Due to the risks associated with the COVD-19 pandemic, nitrile gloves are more popular than they have ever been. From healthcare professionals and paramedic staff to people at home, nearly everyone is using and disposing of disposable nitrile gloves. And because these gloves are single-use only, they present various eco-friendly concerns.
Made with synthetic materials, they have minimal options for disposal. So, it is essential to know if nitrile disposable gloves biodegradable.
Biodegradation is nature’s way of controlling waste. During this natural process, various organisms break down materials and substances into nutrients that other organisms can use for sustenance. The process involves the large molecules of a carbon-based material changing into simpler substances like ammonia, water, and carbon dioxide.
With biodegradable materials, there is a significant decrease in carbon emissions during manufacture and composting. Additionally, sustainable materials can break down without causing any significant damage to the environment.
Knowing are nitrile disposable gloves degradable is essential for taking measures to reduce the impact of carbon emissions on the environment.
So, Are Nitrile Gloves Biodegradable?
Now that you know why the biodegradability of these gloves matter, let’s answer the question, “are nitrile gloves biodegradable?”
The simple answer is that disposable nitrile gloves are not biodegradable. Since manufacturers use synthetic materials to create nitrile gloves, nitrile gloves can take hundreds to fully break down. Even when decomposing, these gloves tend to release their chemicals into the environment. Hence, decomposing gloves can also pollute and contaminate the water or soil.
After learning the answer to the question, “are nitrile disposable gloves biodegradable?” your next question may be in regards to composting. Let’s take a look.
Does That Mean Nitrile Gloves Aren’t Compostable, Either?
As they’re not biodegradable, it is also impossible for anyone to compost nitrile gloves. So, you should not expect them to decompose by putting them in compost. In fact, doing so may also contaminate your compost.
While they’re neither biodegradable nor compostable, you can recycle used nitrile gloves. However, reusing these gloves is only possible if they did not come in contact with biohazardous chemicals and materials. Biohazardous waste and chemicals can contaminate the recycling stream.
How Nitrile Gloves Compare to Other Types In Terms Of Eco-Friendliness
Disposable gloves are available in different material options besides nitrile - such as latex and vinyl. How do these alternatives compare to nitrile in terms of eco-friendliness? Let’s take a look.
Latex gloves may be a bit better for the environment than nitrile gloves. That said, latex-free nitrile gloves are a more popular choice as their eco-friendly alternative tends to cause allergies.
Latex gloves are made with natural rubber from the rubber tree, a renewable resource. Essentially, the material called latex is the sap of rubber trees. Additionally, you can collect rubber tree sap by tapping the tree. So, it is possible to acquire latex without cutting down the trees. However, latex gloves are really not an option in many industries do to concerns over allergic reactions.
Now that you know are nitrile disposable gloves biodegradable, let’s compare them to vinyl.
Vinyl gloves are an excellent option for people with latex allergies as they are also a cheaper alternative. However, vinyl gloves are not as durable as the nitrile and are still hazardous to the environment.
Vinyl gloves are also more prone to tear as the material is not as thick as nitrile. It is very common for these gloves to puncture while working. Not to mention, vinyl is also unsuitable when handling hazardous chemicals as these gloves are not as resistant. Since you can’t use these gloves in high-risk medical settings and science labs, vinyl gloves are especially popular in the food industry.
Additionally, vinyl is one of the least eco-friendly plastics you can find. From manufacture and production to use and disposal, vinyl releases toxic chlorine-based chemicals into the environment. These contaminate and pollute the soil, water, and can cause serious damage to the food chain.
What else? While these gloves should protect from exposure to vinyl, using it can increase chlorine levels in your body. Increased chlorine can cause health problems, including cancer.
Therefore, nitrile gloves are much better than vinyl gloves.
Safely Disposing Of Your Nitrile Gloves (Best Practices)
Now that you have the answer to are nitrile gloves biodegradable, you must start disposing of them properly to minimize your impact on our planet. There are alternative ways of disposal besides just pulling them off and tossing them in the garbage bin. How and where you dispose of your used gloves is vital for reducing harm on our earth.
Additionally, proper disposal of nitrile gloves also reduces the risk of cross-contamination. For instance, contaminated gloves can infect people collecting your trash. The way that you dispose of your used nitrile gloves determines whether you’re contaminating other objects and putting other people in danger.
Coming to biohazards waste and chemicals, you need to properly dispose of them in bins depending on the type of contamination. Remember, improper disposal of contaminated gloves can harm wildlife and marine life if they ingest them.
Here’s How to Properly Dispose of Nitrile Gloves after Use
Using your left hand, pinch the outside edge of your right-hand glove at the wrist. Start peeling it away from your hand, making sure not to touch the inside of the glove. As you remove the glove away from the hand, it should turn inside out.
After removing the glove from your right hand, you can remove the left-hand glove much faster. Simply use your ungloved hand to slide two fingers inside the glove on your left hand. Make sure you’re only touching the inside of the glove. Then, pinch the glove from the inside, hold on to it, and pull it off.
Not touching the gloves from the outside will ensure that your skin does not come in direct contact with bacteria and viruses possibly present on the glove. Once removed, discard the gloves appropriately. Do not lay them around on the table, etc.
Don’t Leave Them in the Household Bin
Many assume that tossing contaminated gloves in the bathroom or kitchen bin is safe. But, the assumption is far from reality, as leaving used nitrile gloves in household bins may present health risks. It is not so tricky for harmful viruses and bacteria on the gloves to spread. So, make sure not to take any risks.
It is always better to discard used gloves in the outside garbage bins that are ready for collection. When you’re not keeping them in the house for days, your family is less likely to come in contact with them. This is an effective way of preventing the spread of germs and the risk of infections and illnesses.
However, if they are not contaminated with harmful microorganisms or hazardous chemicals, it is okay to discard nitrile gloves with other trash.
Looking for Quality Nitrile Gloves Online?
At Primo Dental Products, we offer the best selection of disposable gloves nitrile. Whether you work in the food service industry, healthcare, or some other industry, you can stay safe and comfortable all day long with our premium supply.
We also offer surgical masks made in the USA in our PPE store. Primo Dental is the ideal choice when shopping for PPE for anyone inside or outside of the medical career field. We ensure the best quality supplies for dentists, healthcare professionals, and anyone who needs PPE.
Are Nitrile Disposable Gloves Biodegradable? Wrapping Things Up
It should be clear by now that the answer to “are nitrile gloves biodegradable” is no. Nitrile gloves may be non-biodegradable, but they are the best option available when looking for non-allergic, and protective disposable gloves.Although you can’t put them in compost, it is possible to recycle nitrile gloves, given that they're not contaminated with hazardous chemicals and waste. The recycling process is very similar to the recycling of disposable face masks. So, follow the tips we’ve provided for proper disposal and limit your impact on our environment!