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Turning Landfill Biodegradable Gloves Into Energy – How Does That Exactly Work?

Biodegradable products are becoming more and more relevant, especially as we pay greater attention to the end of life of our products and how they are discarded. With Watson Gloves’ landfill biodegradable gloves, they break down decades quicker compared to their non-biodegradable counterparts, leave no microplastics behind, and minimize waste in landfills. Fantastic, right? But what if we go one step further and tell you that our biodegradable gloves can be turned into organic matter and renewable energy? Then it seems like an easy choice to go the biodegradable route when choosing your gloves.

You must now be asking – how do our biodegradable gloves, a tangible product, convert into energy, an intangible resource? Well, rest assured, that question and more are answered below!

What Is Biodegradation?

Let’s first answer the question “what is biodegradation?“. The definition of “biodegradable” under the Cambridge Dictionary is “to decay naturally and in a way that is not harmful.” To be more specific, a biodegradable substance decays when 1) microorganisms, such as fungi or bacteria, are present to help break down the substance into smaller compounds, such as carbon dioxide, methane, soil, and water, and 2) the right conditions and environment are met.

Biodegradation occurs either through aerobic or anaerobic settings. Aerobic biodegradation is the breakdown of organic components through microorganisms when oxygen is present. Organic components include anything that is plant-based, animal-based, or natural mineral-based. Anaerobic biodegradation on the other hand is the breakdown of components through microorganisms where oxygen is not present. This comes largely from our landfill waste, which is broken down in our local waste facilities.

Although all matter eventually decomposes over time, some material takes longer to degrade than others, such as plastic and rubber (which can take hundreds of years). Thus, longer degradation time is still incredibly harmful to our environment, as these materials can remain in our landfills for centuries. It goes without saying then that products with shorter degradation time (between 2-50 years) can help the environment, which we live in.

Making Gloves Biodegradable with Reclaim™ Additive

Through innovative technology, we have been able to engineer biodegradability in select gloves thanks to Reclaim™ additive. What is Reclaim™ additive? It is an inert, FDA-approved additive added in our biodegradable gloves, which allow microbes to break down the gloves in modern landfills significantly quicker than regular gloves.  That’s right – our landfill biodegradable gloves (disposables and seamless knits) take 5-10 years to degrade (based on ASTM D5511 and ASTM D5526 standards) compared to the 50-200 years it takes for non-biodegradable gloves.

The great thing with adding Reclaim™ additive into our landfill biodegradable gloves is that the performance and shelf life of the gloves are not affected in any way. Biodegradation only begins when the gloves are disposed of properly as landfill waste (not compost or recycling). Once in landfill conditions, the Reclaim™ additive will work its magic to attract microbes that will break down the gloves.

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Reclaim™ logo. Reclaim™ additive is used in our biodegradable gloves to help accelerate the degradation process. You can view all Reclaim™ biodegradable gloves here.

The best part is that once the gloves are broken down, they are then converted into renewable energy. Of course, you’re probably still asking the million-dollar question – how?? Well, you’re now going to get richer (with knowledge), as you will find out right below!

Turning Biodegradable Gloves to Energy

We just learned that our landfill biodegradable gloves engineered with Reclaim™ additive can accelerate the degradation process. In addition to that though, the broken-down glove components undergo a natural transformation into biogas (which organic waste also produces) throughout the degradation process leaving no microplastics behind. With most modern landfills nowadays, they are able to capture and reclaim all of the biogas into eco-friendly energy generation, which can be used to charge our homes, businesses, and communities.

Modern landfills ain’t your grandpa’s kind of landfills back in the day. They have come a very long way from the open dumps they were previously known as in the past. In current times, modern landfills are strictly regulated, managed, and designed with engineered systems and processes in place, which help with waste degradation. Degradation leads to the production of methane and other gases, and the technology of modern landfills ensures that the gases are captured and reclaimed to make clean, inexpensive energy.

Our Reclaim™ landfill biodegradable gloves achieve a circular economy by seeing an additional life after its end of use as a glove in the form of energy.

Here is where we come full circle – when our landfill biodegradable gloves see their end of life as a glove product and are disposed of after use, they go through a 5-10 year degradation process and transform into clean energy that goes right back into society, and thus, completing a circular economy. Neat, eh?

The Next Evolution in Biodegradable Gloves

Sustainable innovations is what we proudly excel at in our industry, and we have the latest landfill biodegradable products to show for it.

We’re absolutely thrilled to release our newest landfill biodegradable gloves – biodegradable nylon gloves, which are the very first in the market. We’re expanding on the success of our WasteNot™ line of gloves launched last year, which was also the first gloves in the industry to be made of recycled PET plastic bottles.

The two new biodegradable seamless knit gloves we’re launching have biodegradable components both in the nylon and nitrile coating, which helps reduce the degradation time in landfills to 5 years (ASTM D5511) compared to the 50+ years it takes for typical synthetic gloves. The biodegradable nitrile palm has great grip that’s excellent in wet and oily conditions. And when you put on these gloves, you’ll feel incredible comfort and breathability without any compromise in performance.

Our new Stealth Zero and Jade gloves show up to 24.1% biodegradation in 233 days under the ASTM D5511 standard test method. The yarn used to make these gloves are also OEKO-TEX STANDARD® 100 certified.

Biodegradable Nylon Gloves

Our popular Green Monkey gloves is our lineup of biodegradable disposable nitrile gloves, which degrades in landfills in 10 years (ASTM D5526) compared to the 200+ years it takes for typical disposable nitrile gloves. Similar to our biodegradable nylon gloves, our biodegradable disposable gloves maintain the same quality and performance as other disposable gloves with no compromise. The Green Monkey collection are powder-free, exceptionally durable to punctures and tears, and chemically resistant to oils, solvents, and grease.

Our Green Monkey landfill biodegradable gloves show up to 26.5% biodegradation in 390 days under the ASTM D5526 standard test method.

You can find our biodegradable Green Monkey gloves in various thicknesses: 4 mil, 5 mil, 6 mil, and 8 mil.

Biodegradable Disposable Green Monkey Gloves

#GlovesToEnergy Makes the World Go Round

It’s funny how materials work in the world. Thanks to the commitment of innovation at Watson Gloves, we’re turning gloves to energy and continuing to be leaders in sustainable innovations in our industry. Through the use of Reclaim™ additive, we’re able to produce not only landfill biodegradable disposable gloves but also biodegradable nylon gloves, which are the first in the market!

If we follow a path of sustainability and look towards more eco-friendly options, such as landfill biodegradable gloves, we can help the environment not only remove waste that would remain in landfills for centuries, but also turn our everyday gloves into energy and achieve a circular economy.

Reclaim™ gloves are available now in stores and online.

For more information on Reclaim™ gloves click here.

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