The Good, The Bad And The Dirty

June 20, 2016

Disposable consumables are an area that most suppliers don’t focus on but this is what we live and breathe. Often companies selling protective clothing and disposable gloves know very little about these products, or even don't care!  

At Eagle Protect, we do care. To ensure the quality and safety of our products we visit and audit our suppliers regularly. We check on staff conditions, pay, the quality of our products, product environmental impact and that our suppliers are complying with our Supplier Code of Conduct.

Through these continuing visits we have developed trusted long-term relationships with our suppliers and thus feel truly confident we are supplying the best, fit for purpose products to the New Zealand market.

So to get a bit more understanding about what makes up a glove lets look at the true cost of a disposable glove whether it is Latex, Nitrile or Vinyl.

Everything else 15% - Includes items like import duties, any government charges

If a product is cheap, something is always compromised somewhere in the chain. The biggest opportunity for a supplier to increase their profit is to change the Raw Materials and minimise Factory & Staff Expenses. Cheaper raw materials often have impurities meaning a lower quality product and potential toxicity problems by using fillers such as chalk in Latex and Nitrile disposable gloves. Quality can also be compromised when factory and staff expenses are reduced due to the use of unskilled labour, poor work conditions, and shortcuts in quality control and testing.

If we are not careful, we as users of disposable products are potentially helping subsidise something else, such as staff conditions. So with raw materials making up around 45% of a glove you can see how important they are to the quality of a glove.

Cheaper raw materials used can lead to:

  • Less strength, flexibility and durability
  • Toxicity problems

Poor disposable glove processing and packaging within the factory can:
  • Affect cleanliness leading to potential skin irritations to the wearer or customer. The powder in gloves is not generally the irritant for people it is the high protein levels. Washing tanks are expensive to run so to cut the costs suppliers will often do less washing of the disposable gloves. This leads to more protein in the gloves and thus more irritants.
  • Increased bacteria count on gloves (not ideal when the product touches your client)
  • Lead to inconsistent product quality

Using cheaper raw materials only weakens the product physically and chemically. One example we were made aware of a few years ago was that a container of Nitrile disposable gloves from a very prominent Malaysian manufacturer was turned back at an International European border for high cyanide levels in the nitrile gloves. A direct result of using low-quality raw material and processing procedures!

Child Labour Free 
Indian school kids
You may have seen on the NZ Herald paper about the Child Labor Free Organisation. Two NZ owners set this up to have a mark for products like any other worldwide initiative.
 There are over 150 million children worldwide engaged in child labour. That is huge!

We are currently in the process of working with Child Labor Free to get our higher risk suppliers audited and certified so you as customers can be confident our products meet these high standards.
 When purchasing a Child Labor Free product you are making a choice to support this important initiative.

Every child has a right to schooling, clean water, nutrition and a safe living environment. Unfortunately, with manufacturing of low-cost products like disposable gloves, child labour is a potential issue. Ensuring children are not exploited is a key consideration when selecting and auditing our suppliers.

Questions To ask your supplier 
What sort of things should you ask your supplier? 
The answers to these questions by any supplier should give you a good feeling about what is important to them and how closely they know their supply chain.

Do you visit your factories regularly?
 We visit our factories regularly to check on staff conditions, pay, the quality of our products and their environmental impact.

Does your Supplier have a Supplier Code of Conduct?
 Eagle Protects Supplier Code of Conduct, covers off areas such as forced and child labour, discrimination, hours of work, wages and benefits, H & S, environmental responsibility and traceability that are suppliers are to adhere by.

Are your factories free from Child Labour?
 Eagle Protects suppliers employ only workers who meet the applicable minimum legal age in their country or are at least 15 years of age. This is covered in our Supplier Code of Conduct. 
As mentioned we are also currently in the process of getting our high-risk suppliers audited by Child Labor Free.

Are all products made at your factory?
 No third party products used from outsourced factories are accepted at Eagle Protect unless otherwise agreed. This means no products slip through cracks that we don’t know where they come from.

We promise you that

  •  All our products are premium sourced
  •  No fillers are added to the raw material
  •  Factories are audited by our NZ staff regularly
  •  And if you need to ask us anything we have Legendary customer service 
advocates who are passionate about our product range!

We will not compromise on:
  •  Product quality (fit for purpose/acceptable price)
  •  Social responsibility and
  •  Environmental impact (we realise our products ultimately end up as landfill but 
we are continuing to find a solution to this!)

So the next time you are putting a disposable glove on or go to place an order, I dare you to think about where your disposable consumables are coming from. If you are not 100% sure, please ask the question to your supplier or contact us. 
We guarantee your per month usage with us will be no dearer than anyone else and we can help you make the right product choices especially when it comes to gloves.

We won’t compromise on product quality, social responsibility, and environmental impact. And we are a pretty cool bunch of people who are passionate about great disposable consumables! Why not visit our online store to find a glove to suit your needs.

Why not visit our online store to find a glove to suit your needs.

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Tags: Child Labor Free,, Sustainability