Vernacare secures research funding from Manchester’s Henry Royce Institute

Bolton-based Vernacare, ‘a pioneer of sustainable infection prevention solutions’, has secured research funding for the University of Manchester’s Henry Royce Institute that it says could lead to ‘even more sustainable’ healthcare products.

As part of the continuous development of its single-use wash bowls, manufactured from 100% recycled materials, a six-month research project at the Henry Royce Institute’s Sustainable Materials Innovation (SMI) Hub will investigate the role of polyfluoroalkyl substances in detergent proofing, and perform a comprehensive exploration of alternative, ‘more environmentally-friendly’, detergent-proofing additives.

Vernacare has secured funding through Innovate UK Business Connect for detailed research into the bowls’ composition and structure, and how additives are distributed within them. While polyfluoroalkyls are present at extremely low levels in these products, Vernacare and the Henry Royce Institute will ‘pioneer’ research into alternatives to these additives as part of their commitment to sustainability. The project will – Vernacare says – lead to a greater understanding of polyfluoroalkyl substances’ waterproofing and detergent resistance properties, and help determine the key attributes of potential alternatives.

Established in 2014, the SMI Hub is part of the Henry Royce Institute at The University of Manchester, and performs assessments on the materials used in products, packaging, and components, to inform more sustainable choices. The research in collaboration with Vernacare will be supported by a detailed literature review and a ‘deep dive’ into additives currently being utilised in the commercial sector. The resulting findings, experiences, and best practices, will – wherever possible – be shared with other industry players.

Alex Hodges, Vernacare’s CEO, said: “This collaboration is important because it will be used to drive future product development, and allow us to make even more sustainable, yet high-performing products for use in healthcare facilities worldwide.”

Tom McDonald, Reader in Sustainable Materials at the University of Manchester and the Henry Royce Institute, added: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Vernacare on this exciting research initiative. By exploring environmentally-friendly alternatives to polyfluoroalkyl substances, we aim to develop solutions that not only meet the stringent requirements of healthcare settings, but also contribute to a more sustainable future."

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