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Solutions for sustainability in the NHS, re-using materials for a greater good

A bitesize insight into a project to prove the viability of recycling unused gown and curtain waste in hospitals undertaken by WMG’s SME group and Airguard Envirocare Ltd

Company Background

Airguard Envirocare Ltd were established in 1985 and primarily manufacture filter systems which are used in hotels, restaurants, office buildings, and hospitals. During Covid, the company manufactured PPE for the healthcare sector.

Project Overview

Airguard is working to create a more sustainable and resilient supply chain. Initially they got in touch with WMG regarding the issue of single use plastic waste in the NHS. They had identified an opportunity to recycle the many tonnes of unused gowns and curtains that are thrown away each year.

Technology Transfer Specialist Chapa Bandara undertook a series of tests on a batch of plastic granules that had been converted from gown and curtain waste to determine the properties and potential to create new products. She also injection moulded parts using the plastic and compared it against virgin polymer. Through the tests she found the recycled polymer was stiffer than virgin and proposed that products such as bins and trays could be created with it.

Colleagues in WMG’s SME group Archit Tamboli and Tony Zeng also undertook a separate project redesigning an Airguard filter product to reduce emissions and costs.

Project Impact

Since working with WMG, Airguard has:

  • Established a new product and partnership opportunity with the NHS by proving that recycling polypropylene material from unused hospital gowns and curtains is viable
  • Identified the potential to save hundreds of thousands of tonnes in CO2 emissions through recycling initiatives
  • Re-designed one of their filter products which provides an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and enter a new market


“The work WMG did for us helped us prove the viability of creating a more circular system when it comes to the provision of hospital equipment and workwear. We are excited by the potential of this project and look forward to having more discussions with hospitals about us helping them to recycle and reuse materials in the future.”

Maqq Rafique, Director, Airguard Envirocare Ltd


“There is much potential to explore how single use plastic waste can be re-used and repurposed in a variety of applications. This project offers a transformational opportunity for the NHS going forward and we were delighted to work with Maqq and the team to build its scientific case.”

Chapa Bandara, Technology Transfer Specialist, WMGLink opens in a new window

    For more information about working with WMG, please email wmgsme at warwick dot ac dot uk


    Thu 21 Sep 2023, 08:05 | Tags: SME