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A Little Alchemy Going A Long Way

As the global pandemic progresses, so the number of so-called solutions hit the shelves of suppliers and retailers. Since the beginning of March this year, there has been a flood of hand and surface sanitisers available to the public - each one promising to eradicate the COVID-19 virus, and each less tested or independently verified than the next.

In our mad rush to find solutions to the threat of transmission and containment, common-sense seems to have given way to get-rich-quick as a means to attract consumers. Other than for a very few ecolabelled products, it seems like almost everyone has jumped at the chance to make some money from the crisis. But what about the consumer's rights and the need for caution?

Analysis of some of the products has shown that with very few exceptions, alcohol forms the basis of most cleaners with some even containing formaldehyde! Fortunately, enzyme and biological-based products have started appearing from ecolabelled companies and consumers have a choice, but again there seems to be no rush to get them approved or recognised as environmentally friendly.

Given the fear of the virus and the demand for product, its understandable that manufacturers are taking short-cuts, but in the long-term, can the use of home-made designations of 'Green', 'Environmentally Friendly' and 'Natural' not pose even greater threats to consumers?

And can the same not be said for the myriad of products that have suddenly been manufactured for health professionals round the world. Gloves, masks, face screens, robes and other emergency PPE are being used at levels not before seen in peacetime, and each one of these is single-use designed, and headed for the nearest landfill site. How many meet even the most basic environmental standard - and is anyone actually listening?

Strange times often call for strange measures, but have we not set-back the environmental cause by simply giving-up on carefully planned and hard-won measures to protect our planet - and our communities? I hope not.

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