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Recyclable and biodegradable Covid test kits are in the works

Award-winning design and innovation consultants at Morrama have developed a concept for Covid tests that are both recyclable and biodegradable.

Last November, ocean-dwelling plastic waste deriving from the pandemic was estimated at being over 26,000 tonnes. That’s more than the weight of 2,000 double decker buses.

No one is happy about this, but the immediate global need for items like single-use masks, rapid flow tests, and other essential medical supplies unfortunately left us with no other choice.

Those making an effort to become more sustainable in their day-to-day lives will have no doubt recoiled at the plastic packaging encompassed in a single packet of at home lateral flow tests.

But there could be a better option on the horizon. A reputable, UK-based design and innovation consultancy firm called Morrama has been working on producing completely recyclable and biodegradable test kits.

Though still in its concept stages, the ECO-FLO test kit would offer the same rapid and accurate results as the PCR and antigen tests we’ve become familiar with over the last two years.

Unlike these tests though, ECO-FLO works only using a saliva sample. It won’t require a nasal swab or a mixing ‘buffer’ liquid, eliminating the need for plastic vials used for holding samples.

Removing these additional parts of the test will also make it easier for those with disabilities to get a test result on their own, as well as for parents testing young children.

All you’ll need to do is spit on the tests’ absorbent pad, secure the test packet closed, and push on a button which transfers the saliva sample onto a test strip. Fifteen minutes later, a result will come through.

The test itself is made from paper pulp and the sachet containing it is made from biodegradable NatureFlex film which breaks down in 4-6 weeks. There are also no additional instruction leaflets, as all details are printed directly on the paper sleeve of the test.

Many will be thinking that this design comes too little too late, as lateral flow tests aren’t exactly in peak demand anymore. But Morrama hopes that sustainable designs of their kind will help us be better prepared in the future.

‘Whilst much of the Western world has moved on from mass testing of Covid-19, there has been regular warnings from experts that pandemics are only set to become more likely,’ said Morrama’s founder and creative director Jo Barnard.

She continued, ‘With the failures from our response to Covid still fresh in our mind, we need to act now to ensure we are better prepared in the future.’

 

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