How the Covid19 pandemic is affecting packing industries as well as hand sanitiser companies.

Packing companies are struggling to keep up with the demand for hand sanitisers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following NHS advice to thoroughly wash hands in order to stay protected from the coronavirus, sales of antibacterial gel have soared, with many consumers buying in bulk.
However, this has caused a lack of materials for packing firms and other relevant companies to produce more products, leaving countless retailers struggling to restock hand sanitisers.

Sarah Ward, sales manager of WePack commented: “Hand sanitisers are making up approximately 70-80% of our orders presently. We have seen an increase in orders from most industries but especially from the healthcare industry.”

To keep up with the increasing demand, many pharmacies and supermarkets have had to place restrictions on the number of hand sanitisers customers can purchase – to up to two per transaction.

Mick Clark, director at hand sanitiser company, Clarisan, said: “With people panic buying there is a clear shortage of hand sanitisers. We have to keep searching for new suppliers if the required materials are not available from our current contact. However, with a worldwide shortage, where everyone is in the same boat, there is not a lot that can be done.”

Hand sanitiser should not be used as an alternative to hand-washing and should only be used when cleaning with soap and water is not available.

Sarah added: “Lots of people are looking for bottles, hand sanitisation products or filling services but we have not had any more requests for soap.

“Bulk materials and the cost of component prices are heavily inflated due to resources being very limited.”

PET plastic is the most common packaging material for hand sanitisers and soaps. The plastic is fully recyclable and can be rinsed out for reuse. It also does not need to be fluorinated as the existing clear clarity allows the product to be easily seen.

Sarah said: “Most hand sanitisers have some sort of screw cap closure. This could be a disc-top, lotion pump or flip-top cap to name a few. Caps are quite flexible as the gel is free-flowing.”

Aluminium, which is also recyclable, is another popular packaging material for hand sanitisers but is more expensive so is often reserved for more upmarket products.
Mick added: “Alternatives to hand sanitisers in bottles include gel in sachets, wipes in sachets and flow wrapped packs.”

While hand sanitiser products are in short supply, packing firms must keep them protected during transportation to prevent leakages.

“We always package goods in suitable boxes for transportation. They are often palletised and wrapped before being shipped to the end location,” Sarah concluded.

Until the shortage of hand gel has ceased, consumers should continue to regularly wash hands with soap and water, and use antibacterial wipes, if available, as an alternative to hand sanitiser.