Jo Fabb-Ansell
Jo Fabb June 30, 2023

Why Plastic Packaging is Crucial for Cleanroom Consumables

Products which are sensitive to contamination whether they’re pharmaceuticals, microelectronics or medical devices need to be manufactured and packed within a strictly controlled environment; this is an isolated area often referred to as a ‘cleanroom’. Cleanroom consumables such as cleanroom gloves, disposable coveralls, RABS & isolator gloves, goggles and facemasks worn during the product manufacturing process need to be packed within a controlled environment and in cleanroom compatible packaging, which does not pose a contamination risk. In this article, we explore Ansell's approach to cleanroom consumables packaging, the crucial role of plastic packaging, and the company's initiatives towards sustainable packaging and reducing environmental impact. 

The Importance of Cleanroom Consumables Packaging

Cleanroom consumables packaging serves three primary functions:


The packaging must be durable and securely hold the consumable during transportation and storage.


The packaging safeguards the consumable from contamination and external factors such as light, heat, and moisture.


The packaging displays essential manufacturing information, such as lot number, manufacturing date, expiry date, chemical protection levels, and usage guidelines.

The Role of Plastic in Cleanroom Consumables Packaging

Ansell’s cleanroom consumables packaging is predominantly manufactured from plastic however, not all plastic is created equal, the plastic used in the packaging must be cleanroom compatible, there are several good reasons for this:


Cleanroom consumables must be protected from contamination during shipping and handling. Plastic packaging provides a barrier against dust, moisture, and other potential sources of contamination, helping to maintain the cleanliness and integrity of the products.


Many cleanroom consumables are sterilized prior to use, and plastic packaging is suitable for various sterilization methods, such as gamma irradiation or ethylene oxide gas sterilization.


Low particulates
Plastic packaging is also compatible with cleanroom conditions, where materials with low particle generation are required.


Clear plastic packaging allows for easy identification and inspection of the contents without opening the packaging. This is especially important in a cleanroom environment, where minimizing unnecessary handling of materials is crucial.


Plastic packaging is lightweight and easy to handle, making it ideal for transport and storage. Additionally, sterile gloves are pair packed, allowing the user to quickly don a pair of gloves without needing to handle multiple pairs.

Download our one pager on cleanroom consumables packaging.

The crucial role of plastic in packaging cleanroom consumables 

Adhering to Donning Guidelines for Cleanroom Consumables

Cleanroom consumables must meet certain international regulations and standards, and to maintain their cleanliness specification they must be packaged using certain methods and in specific materials. To reach the cleanroom uncontaminated and to protect the cleanroom from any potential contamination coming from the packaging, they must be packaged in several layers (double or triple bagged) to facilitate the opening and transfer of the consumable throughout the facility — from the warehouse to the storage room, and finally to the changing room ready for donning — without compromising its cleanliness or sterility.

Strict adherence to donning guidelines is essential when using cleanroom consumables. We provide various donning guides and videos explaining the process for:

  • Non-sterile gloves
  • Sterile gloves
  • Disposable coveralls
  • Goggles and face masks

Tackling the Plastic Pollution Challenge: Ansell's Pledge

Plastic pollution is an urgent environmental issue, and single-use plastics account for 40% of the plastic produced every year1. Many of these products, such as plastic bags have a lifespan of minutes to hours, yet they are persisting in the environment for centuries. The production of plastic is increasing every year and some plastic is known to take at least 400 years to break down. The plastic in our existing packaging comes from non-renewable resources, increases shipping volume and weight and is usually thrown away once the product is opened.

Acknowledging this, Ansell is committed to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact.

Our goal is to achieve 100% recyclability2, reuse, or compostability of our packaging material by 2026, contributing to waste reduction and combatting plastic pollution.

Ansell's Sustainable Packaging Initiatives

Ansell is continually working on reducing its carbon footprint and promoting sustainable packaging. Within the Ansell Life Sciences/Cleanroom business we’re working hard to ensure the packaging of our consumables meets the Ansell packaging pledge, along with improving and introducing several packaging initiatives and strategic priorities to reduce the impact of our packaging on our planet:

Removal of "Zero-Use"

Removal of "Zero-Use"

Sustainable configurations

Sustainable configurations

Leading Digital transformation

Leading digital transformation

Reduction of materials utilization

Reduction of materials utilization

Minimizing shipping volume

Minimizing shipping volume

Project Smart Pack Packaging

This project is centered on three Strategic Priorities:

  • Sustainable configurations
  • Reduction of materials
  • Minimizing shipping volumes

Fitting more products into packaging units results in less packaging material. Our continuous screening of customer needs helps us to define configurations that still meet those needs while reducing packaging.

The upcoming launch of our new SMART Pack packaging for our 300mm sterile gloves will see a reduction of the amount of plastic used in the pouch by 56%3 and the new packing configuration will see a reduction of nearly 1 MILLION plastic bags annually4

SMART Pack vs Current Standard Packaging Configurations
SMART Pack packaging is up to 56% smaller in square area compared to current standard packaging

To discover more about our innovative SMART Pack solution and how it's helping to set a new standard for sustainability, click here.

Project Instructions for Use

This project targets the following strategic priorities:

  • Removal of ‘zero use’
  • Leading digital transformation
  • Reduction of materials

To conform with the EU PPE Regulation 2016/425, all our cleanroom consumables come with an Instruction for Use (IFU) leaflet which contains important product information. They’re printed in multiple languages on a large, folded piece of paper and enclosed within every shipper case. This equates to 7.89 tonnes of paper annually used for printing IFUs to include with our cleanroom consumable products. One of our strategic priorities is to lead digital transformation, which means using digital technology to improve the functionality and sustainability of our product packaging, one way to achieve this is to remove paper instructions for use (IFU) leaflets from packaging from shipments heading to destinations outside of the EU, where IFUs are not mandatory, such as North America and Latin Americas.

This initiative will help us:

Save 2.53 tonnes
of paper annually

save paper annually

Equates to 5.475 tonnes
of greenhouse gas emissions

greenhouse gas emissions

Equivalent to 14,672/23,614
less miles/km driven by a delivery van annually

Delivery van

Our other initiative for IFUs is to reduce the size of the current IFU leaflet for shipments heading to EMEA & APAC. Reducing the size of the IFU has enabled us to eliminate 1.33 tonnes of paper annually equating to 2.875 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the carbon footprint of the IFU by 43%5!

Digital IFUs are easily accessible via the product page on under the ‘downloads’ section or by scanning the QR code on the primary (pouch/bag) consumable packaging. Digital versions are quicker and easier to access, and more up-to-date, scanning the QR code takes you directly to the real-time information you need.

Digital IFUs access

Download our More sustainable packaging – IFUs’ leaflet' for further information.


At Ansell, we are committed to innovative cleanroom consumables packaging and sustainability. We strive to reduce our environmental impact, contribute to waste reduction, and lead the way towards a more sustainable future. For more information on Ansell's sustainability goals, please visit


2Packaging recyclability will depend on available disposal options in your community and on the condition of the packaging at the time of disposal.
3Ansell Life Cycle inventory, 2022
4Based on 73-701 & 91-225 sales volumes
5Ansell Life Cycle Assessment, cradle-to-grave, 2022
6UK Government GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting, 2021, average emission conversion factors for delivery van up to 3.5 ton (diesel)

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