Frequently Asked Questions
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We suggest spraying with 70% isopropyl (alcohol) five minuets before the tattoo or while you set up your station. Allow to completely dry before filling with ink and you're good to go!
You can also submerge the ink caps in 70% or 90% isopropyl alcohol for five to ten minuets. After that allow the ink caps to dry completely on a paper towel before storing dry in a container with a lid such as a mason jar.
If submerging ink caps in alcohol to clean keep in a jar with a lid until ready to use. Ink caps can also be stored in their original bag if being cleaned prior to use by spraying.
You can dispose of compostable items that may be contaminated with bloodborne pathogens or other contaminates in a compost bin that is going to be processed at an industrial facility. Technically you can dispose of contaminated compostables in a home system as well, however we cannot recommend this because the usage of the soil, the length of time and the exact conditions of a home compost bin are all different. Due to those factors there's no way to guarantee that an individuals home compost could yield soil suitable for growing food etc.
When an item is industrially composted it goes through rigorous climate conditions in order to break down which deactivates most pathogens. Typically, temperatures reached in a well-managed compost operation are in a range of 50 to 65o C. Such temperatures are well above the thermal death points of mesophilic pathogens. As the temperature of the composting process increases pathogens are usually destroyed as they reach their thermal death points. The survival of bacteria is variable but most viruses are killed in about 20 minutes at 70°C. There is a relationship between temperature and time. A high temperature for a short period or a lower temperature for a longer period may be equally effective.
Our gloves are made of a mixture of nitrile and organic material that our manufacturer blends together which is why they perform the same way regular nitrile gloves do while still holding the capacity to degrade quickly. They are certified under ASTM D5511.
The organic compound additive attracts micro-organisms ( bacteria, fungi etc) that literally consume the glove material. Once this process is complete the only thing left behind is H20, CO2 and methane. Our manufacturing partners also conducted studies on how this process affects soil and plants that are exposed to this and found that it has no detrimental affects on their germination or growth patterns.
The mechanism for the biodegradation does not become active until the gloves reach the landfill because moisture and the presence of microbial activity are required.
Garbage disposal varies from place to place. If you work within an area that has an industrial composting system you can dispose of our products that way. We suggest setting up a compostable bin beside the trash bin at your tattoo station.
If your garbage disposal ships to a landfill only then you can still throw our products away with the trash and they will decompose naturally once exposed to light, air and other elements but at a slower rate then if they go to a facility.
Some of our products are certified under a simulated landfill test. ( ASTM D5526-12 / ASTM D5511) This test method covers the determination of the degree and rate of anaerobic biodegradation of plastic materials in an accelerated-landfill test environment. In other words, this test determines how bioplastics degrade in conditions without light and oxygen and are mixed with household waste and plastic waste for the purpose of creating the most similar conditions to a landfill as possible. This is an important test to us because it shows that testing specifically in a landfill environment has been considered.
Some of our products are certified home compostable meaning they don't require the specific heat and moisture conditions of an industrial composting facility to break down. They break down in under a year (around 9 months) . We've also thrown those in the test pile at home, dug them up every couple of months and watched their degradation in conditions where sunlight and little oxygen are present. Because most municipalities don't have the proper composting in place we don't want to bring in products that don't stand a chance at decomposing in a landfill.
Here is a comprehensive chart that shows how microorganisms are classified. When looking at a label, you want to make sure you have represented organisms within a class (bacteria, non-enveloped or enveloped viruses, fungi, mycobacterium, or bacterial spores). As long as you have organisms within the same class or it kills organisms in a “tougher” class, the product is likely to do the job you need. For example, in the case of Herpes and Hepatitis, they are enveloped viruses, so any product with HIV (or on the Health Canada COVID lists) kill claims or other enveloped viruses should be good to kill Herpes and Hep B.
Yes, bio-plastics are just as suitable for use as cross contamination barriers as petroleum plastics are. Viruses and bacteria are too large to pass through plastics on a molecular level.
What is important to note is that within the category of bio-plastics and petroleum plastics there is a wide variety of different types of plastic. For example PLA (poly-lactic acid) is the most widely used type of plant based bio-plastic on the market, it is compostable and can be produced in many forms including films and hard plastics. It is compostable and made of sustainable materials. PE plastic (polyethylene) is a petroleum based plastic that can also be made into films and hard plastics but is derived from oil and will take hundreds of years to break down. while they are made of different materials they both share similar physical properties that make them excellent barriers. Most importantly these plastics are hydrophilic - meaning they are impervious to liquids. You can wash a PLA bag with soap and water in exactly the same way you'd wash a ziploc bag and its structural integrity will not be compromised. Bio-plastics will only begin to decompose once discarded and exposed to bacteria and other natural elements.
Biodegradation can be divided into 2 categories: A) Aerobic and B) Anaerobic. Based on the
environment involved, each is distinct, in that they involve 2 distinct types of microorganisms.
Aerobic: “in the presence of oxygen.” Aerobic microorganisms exist and multiply in oxygen containing environments. No
oxygen, no life.
Anerobic: “without oxygen.” Anerobic microorganisms can exist and multiply devoid of free oxygen.
From the biodegradation perspective, any landfill contains both environments, simultaneously. Therefore, by definition,
both types of microorganisms exist there, simultaneously. Both types of microorganisms also require moisture, with some
thriving in levels as low as 8%, or as high as 100%. Most landfills average 15-40%. Moisture is essential for nutrient
transport, as well as maintaining normal cellular functions in both types of microorganisms. In fact, most cereal grains are
kept at none to extremely low moisture levels to inhibit biodegradation. Most microorganisms need elevated temperatures,
more accurately, they need to be in range where they thrive, to be at their optimal biologically significant (able to
biodegrade) levels. On average, most landfill temperatures range from 95-113°F, year-round, this is evident in the “steam
clouds” that can be seen continually billowing forth from landfills in the winter. Temperatures can exceed 130°F in some
instances. The point being most microbes (or any other species mentioned above) do not do very well in temperatures
lower than 10°F. It is also worth noting that there are distinct species of microbes that do better than others at temperature
intervals between the averages. Keep in mind; these temperatures are taken within the “mass” of the landfill.
The external, surface temperature has little overall bearing “on the inside.” With all that being said, EBT glove technology
exploits the natural environments (aerobic and anaerobic) found in landfills. In summary, “biological activity,” in the
presence of or devoid of oxygen, the presence of moisture and elevated temperatures are the three major things needed
for biodegradation. The EBT glove technology, without any input from other sources, uses all these factors, and accelerates the
Yes! Under EN ISO 374-5:2016 these gloves are certified for protecting against bacteria, fungi and viruses including and not limited to:
The HIV virus
The Ebola virus
The Avian influenza virus (Bird Flu)
The Hantavirus (causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS))
The Marburg virus
The Rabies virus
The Smallpox virus
The Influenza viruses (A, B and C)
The Rotavirus (A, B and C)
The HPV virus
The HSV (herpes simplex virus)
The West Nile virus
The Zika virus...and more including the SARS-COVID 2 virus
These gloves are 100% safe for tattooing and any other use non-biodegradable nitrile gloves are safe for doing.
Yes! Our hospital grade cleaner Benefect is suitable for a wide variety of uses including cleaning up bodily fluids that may contain pathogens. For more information on that please see the microorganisms chart at the bottom of this page.
Benefect disinfectant is the only authentically botanical disinfectant technology in the world & has the highest safety rating allowable by the EPA, which means it poses no harm to the health of employees or customers or to the environment. Put simply Benefect is a natural ingredient that's chemical structure hasn't been altered. It has all the benefit without the risk of synthetic chemicals.
Synthetic disinfectants that are used in our everyday work may expose us to health risks over time and contribute to microbial resistance. Synthetic chemicals are made by taking natural ingredients and chemically altering them to become something that doesn't exist in nature. There's no way to know what the long term effects of using synthetics will be on our environment.
We classify our biodegradable nitrile gloves as animal derivative free, which sounds like the long way of saying these gloves are vegan. Animal Derived Materials (ADMs) include any substance derived from the body of any animal, including fat, flesh, blood, milk and eggs. For an extensive list of things that are considered derived from animals you can visit peta.org
Our goal is to support choices that protect animals and improve their lives while also being aware that it is impossible for a person or business to avoid every single animal ingredient. We support sustainable practices for using animal products when a plant based solution isn't yet possible. Remember our mandate is to reduce our reliance on single use plastic items which inevitably end up back in the ecosystems of many species that are under threat from human activity.
Simply put, something is biodegradable if it can be disintegrated by bacteria, fungi, or some other biological process of its own. Composting is the process of recycling organic waste so that it can eventually be reused, done under specific conditions (in industrial composting) where oxygen, heat and moisture are monitored.
The primary difference between compostable bio-plastics and biodegradable products is that industrially compostable products require a specific setting in order to break down, whereas biodegradable products break down naturally, in a similar way to how home compostables do. Typically composting is a faster process.
Industrial or commercial composting is the system used by cities to process large volumes of organic waste material.
There are basically three techniques used in industrial composting: windrow, in-vessel, and aerated static pile composting.
Industrial composting can process large amounts of waste and it can accommodate virtually any type of organic waste — meat, animal manure, bio-solids, and food scraps, for example. This method of composting controls environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture, and airflow. The material is mechanically turned or mixed to make sure the material is aerated to encourage bacterial activity. Industrial composting is done under controlled environmental conditions. By regulating the amount of heat and moisture of the organic waste materials, facilities can break down organics at a much faster rate than it would otherwise take.
Home composting is a small scale, unregulated process where an individual or household turns a bin of organics / compostables until it breaks down and becomes soil again. It is important for this process to be aerated (turned so materials are exposed to air) but it is not temperature controlled. Home compostable bio-plastics can be discarded in an industrial facility as well but does not require it.
PLA is the common name for Polylactic Acid or Polyactide. PLA is made from starch rich plants such as corn, wheat and sugar beets. These plants are first milled to separate the starch, from which is unrefined dextrose is processed. The unrefined dextrose goes through a fermentation process and the result is lactic acid. After condensation, two lactic acide molecules are converted into one lactide. The lactide molecule is then purified through vacuum distillation and a solvent-free melt causes the ring shaped molecule to turn into long chain polymers.
100% compostable means that PLA products are fully renewable. It can be converted back to monomer and polymer, or, it can be biodegraded into water, carbon dioxide and organic materials. PLA is much more sustainable than regular petroleum made plastic.
PBAT (short for polybutylene adipate terephthalate) is a biodegradable random copolymer, specifically a copolyester of adipic acid, 1,4- butanediol and terephthalic acid (from dimethyl terephthalate). PBAT is a certified 100% compostable material, which leaves no pollution to the environment at all after quick degradation in composting facilities.
Here is a quote from european-bioplastics.org by the researchers at ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (2018) who successfully demonstrated that that soil microorganisms metabolically utilized the carbon in the PBAT polymer both for energy production and also to build up microbial biomass:
“This clarifies that nothing remains after biodegradation besides water, CO2 and biomass,“ says Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics e.V.. “With this study, two concerns that are constantly being raised about biodegradable plastics have been rebutted – the doubt that microorganisms fully metabolize certified biodegradable plastics and the concern that the oil-based part of the polymer will not biodegrade completely.“
The tested PBAT polymer is a fossil-based, biodegradable polymer, which is used amongst others for the production of biodegradable, certified compostable bio-waste bags (according to EN 13432) or biodegradable in soil certified mulch films (according to EN 17033).
PBAT is marketed commercially as a fully biodegradable plastic, with BASF's ecoflex® showing 90% degradation after 80 days in testing. Particular applications that are highlighted by the manufacturers include cling wrap for food packaging, compostable plastic bags for gardening and agricultural use, and as water resistant coatings for other materials, as in paper cups. Due to its high flexibility and biodegradable nature, PBAT is also marketed as an additive for more rigid biodegradable plastics to impart flexibility while maintaining full biodegradability of the final blend
Even though PBAT and PLA are both 100% compostable and biodegradable. They are two different bio material.
- Source: PLA comes from lactic. PBAT is a copolymer with three different monomers.
- Application aspect: PBAT is used in blow film more often while PLA is more suitable for extrusion/injection/thermoforming/... grade application.
- Properties: PBAT is soft and flexible with low elastic modules, PLA is hard and rigid.
Our barrier films are a blend of these two bio-plastics which is why they are capable of breaking down on their own, outside of an industrial composting facility.
Accelerator-Free gloves are manufactured without the use of accelerator chemicals such as Mercaptobenzothiazole (MBTs), thiazoles, thiurams and dithiocarbamates to help protect glove users from a nonallergic reaction to any of the numerous irritants from both glove and non-glove associated sources. They are recommended for people with skin sensitivities.
Anaerobic meanings without the presence of oxygen. So when you hear the term anaerobic digestion or decomposition that means that something is being broken down without requiring oxygen.
In relation to composting and biodegradability it's important to know if a product can break down with out requiring oxygenation because then it does not necessarily need to be industrially composted to fully break down.
Non-cytotoxic means a material cannot / does not pose any risk to living cells. This terminology is used in our hygienic bio-plastic materials because they have been tested to be safe for skin contact as well as being virus and bacteria protected.
The process of plants storing carbon as well as the soil they grow in is known as a Carbon Sink. Some naturally occurring examples of carbon sinks are the ocean and forests but commercial composting is also a process that stores and removes carbon from the atmosphere.
By choosing products that are grown from plants instead of processing oil we are actively supporting economic growth based on manufacturing processes that have lower green house gas emissions. Currently land carbon sinks help return 26% of human caused emissions into the earth. Imagine how much more we could do if we prioritized creating more systems that can sequester carbon?
Products that actually are eco-responsible have been certified by an official third party organization and will have a certification label displayed on their box. Some of the most recognized third party testers are:
• The Compost Manufacturing Alliance
• ASTM International
• The Biodegradable products Institute (BPI)
• TüV Austria
• Din Certco
• European Standard (EN)
Only products that have third party testing can claim to be biodegradable or compostable.
The two most widely recognized organizations that do standard testing in Europe and North America are ASTM International and European Standards s.r.o. The standard certification for industrially compostable products that have been tested in North America is ASTM D6400 but in Europe the certificate for industrially compostable products is EN13432 and comes from The European Standards s.r.o. These two certifications follow the same test standards and are considered equivalent to each other. If a product in Europe is certified under EN13432 then it will also be able to pass the ASTM D6400 test.
These organizations often set the standard for what test requirements are and so many other third party groups will have their own certifications that have been proven to be equivalent test methods. Check our 'certified' page for more in-depth descriptions.
In simplest terms, “biologically active” denotes the presence
of microorganisms, i.e., bacteria and fungi. But there also may exist more complex species, including, but not limited to
protozoa, worms, insects, and mammals, all of whom can contribute to biodegradation, directly or indirectly.
Yes. In a traditional landfill, where the trash is buried each day with a layer of dirt and water is not added these gloves will biodegrade. Landfills of this type are known as “dry” or “tomb” landfills. The fact that no water/moisture is (purposefully) added is of no consequence. A “traditional” landfill receives more than sufficient moisture from the contents of the landfill itself. A little digging into the “dry tomb” type of landfill yielded these supporting statements:
“Far from waste being technically dry (zero moisture content), most sanitary landfill waste includes significant organic matter and other moist materials and may receive direct precipitation during active filling phases. Results of field testing of municipal solid waste in non-arid regions finds moisture contents in the approximate range of 10 to 30% (wet weight basis), which is below field capacity (F’c), and well below saturation (S), which means that most waste has the
capacity to absorb additional liquid. Therefore, the term dry tomb is relative and merely suggests that the moisture content is lower than it would otherwise be if the waste were not encapsulated below and above and did not include daily soil cover layers that tend to compartmentalize the waste.”
Mycelium is the large underground root-like network that produce mushrooms. Mycelium itself is made of chitin - a natural glue that is water and fire resistant.
Products we sell containing mycelium are grown with UK based manufacturer The Magical Mushroom company. By combining hemp and mycelium a new material is grown that they call mushroom compostie material. Not only is this material made from the by-product of agricultural waste, it is Biodigestable meaning it can be broken down by bacteria in the absence of oxygen. In fact, in large scale industrial anaerobic digestion trials of this material proved to be both effective and beneficial in drying out wet food matter, typically found in kerbside food collections.
Our manufacturing partner is working on a recycling program, allowing them to collect this material after use and then supplying it to anaerobic digestion plants for the generation of clean energy!
Depending on what country you are in the answer to this may differ. It is best to check with your municipality. In Canada and the United States (we operate in North America) tattoo garbage is disposed of in the same landfill garbage system that regular household and commercial business garbage goes to. This means that if a product is contaminated by blood or other fluids that are considered biohazardous it is still being disposed of in a way that does not treat or separate the contaminated item. The advantage to using biodegradable and compostable products that end up in a landfill is simply that they will break down under those conditions instead of remaining a biohazard indefinitely.
There is no one answer to climate change and the plastic crisis we face, it is really going to be a combination of all three of these options that will make an impact.
However, when it comes to items such as razors and barriers that are contaminated with biohazardous materials you cannot recycle them or reuse them; the only option is to send it to a landfill. While it is a step in the right direction to use recycled plastics, in particular for tattooing it only gives the item a short lived second life before ending up in the garbage. That is why we prefer to use compostables and biodegradables that have been shown to decompose when sent to a landfill.
Petroleum plastics come in many varieties - some are chlorinated and release harmful chemicals into the ground which in turn hurt the surrounding water systems and animals that drink the water. Other plastics that are exposed to sunlight break down over decades becoming only smaller and smaller plastic particles. This is also devastating to humans and animals. Landfills do not exist outside the realm of natural eco-systems and inevitably will effect what is around them.
Petroleum plastics do not break down through bacterial decomposition - it is only through photodegradation ( exposure to UV rays) that their molecular chain breaks apart. This is why plant based alternatives like PLA bio-plastics are more eco-responsible; they break down through bacterial decomposition turning into water and carbon dioxide instead of remaining plastic.
Bioplastics and other emerging eco-industries are very new in comparison to the petroleum based plastic industry which has been around at a global scale since the 1960's.
Eco-responsible industries in general use newer technologies and use higher quality materials so the cost of manufacturing items is higher, right now. Bioplastics only account for 1% of the global plastics market so it has enormous room to grow (and it is). As eco-responsible items become more normalized and more in demand the costs will also level out because it will no longer be a speciality item.
The other reality is that regular plastics are made cheap and dirty from the byproducts of the oil and gas industry. While those manufacturing processes don't cost much they have a devastatingly high carbon footprint cost. More than half of the emissions created by regular plastics come from the sourcing & production of the materials. From a greenhouse gas emissions perspective regular plastics are doing the most damage before they are even a usable product. When we invest in products that are made better but cost slightly more we can consider this a small investment in a cleaner future.
While PLA is a corn-derived plastic, the extreme heat used in processing transforms it considerably and destroys any immunologically reactive profilin. Because of this, PLA should not cause an allergic reaction.
Our wheat straw products are gluten free. These products are made from the straw leftover after the grain is harvested, not the grain itself. Wheat straw contains cellulose and by breaking it down, a new product can be created. We have not yet acquired a third party test to confirm that people with wheat-skin allergy can touch our razors but based on the science of it explained by our manufacturing partner we believe they are safe for gluten intolerant people to touch.
Our landfill biodegradable gloves are certified not only with ASTM International but with Green Circle as well.
GreenCircle Certified, LLC. Provides third-party certification for SHOWA sustainable EBT products, ensuring the public and thier distributing partners ( Good Judy ) can be confident in the claims for biodegradation. SHOWA was the firsthand protection company to
achieve GreenCircle Certification and are leading the movement withing the glove protection industry.