Manufacturers in the stationery industry are reacting creatively to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is by no means just a matter of face masks, with which paper manufacturers, for example, had already reacted quickly during the first lockdown.
The tried and tested business relating to the familiar office world has changed abruptly; mobile working and working from your own home demand new solutions. That is why the market potential for manufacturers and specialist retailers also lies in innovative products that provide protection against COVID-19 and its mutations.
The product classics in the second year of the pandemic now include protective screens or partitions. In offices, for example, they slow down the exchange of air with neighbouring workstations, but they can also provide additional protection at reception counters, customer counters and cash tills.
One of the suppliers in this segment is the classic stationery manufacturer Exacompta. With its "ExaScreen" series, it has developed numerous transparent acrylic solutions that offer protection against saliva droplets. They come in different sizes and can be used either free-standing or hanging. For areas where retailers come into contact with customers and suppliers, there are variants that have an opening that allow documents to be exchanged, cash to be passed over and card readers to be used.
With the new "CleanSafe" line, the Exacompta Group also offers an entire product family for office workplaces through its German subsidiary ExaClair. Files, ring binders and folders are treated with a biocide that almost completely eliminates most bacteria and many viruses. This antimicrobial effect is considered safe for humans, and the agent is often found in disinfectants. The CleanSafe family also includes, among other things, a desk pad, a letter tray and a pencil case.
Especially with hospitals, old people's homes and libraries in mind, the specialist for book and booklet protection CoLibrì has developed an anti-coronavirus solution. The new ECO SHIELD covers are antiviral as well as antibacterial and are said to offer the safest book protection ever. The ISO-certified covers have a silver ion coating, preventing viruses and bacteria from finding a breeding ground on them. The new product is particularly suitable for use in sensitive environments where great store is set by hygiene. Like all CoLibrì covers, the antibacterial solutions are produced with plastics made from renewable raw materials. They are 100% recyclable, do not contain any plasticisers and are certified according to the "I'm green" standard.
When it comes to interiors with a high number of visitors, Avery Zweckform, experts in self-adhesive labels, has launched a helpful innovation. The new anti-virus protection film with the product name "Antimicrobial Protective Film Labels" is intended for surfaces that are often touched. Door handles, light switches and handrails, for example, can be particular transmission sites for pathogens. The film is self-sterilizing, killing 99.9% of all germs such as viruses or bacteria in combination with visible light and oxygen. Moreover, it is completely harmless to human health. Its effectiveness has been clinically tested and confirmed by independent institutes in accordance with ISO 22196 testing (Mod). This makes it just as suitable for businesses and shops as it is for hospitals and laboratories as well as for kitchens and toilets. According to Avery Zweckform, its antimicrobial effect lasts for at least a year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions that were previously considered unthinkable. They include the aspect of where to put a hygiene mask once it's been worn. Trouser pockets and handbags are practical but unsuitable options. The Elco company, with its expertise in envelopes and stationery, has developed the ELCO mask bag specifically for this purpose, following the recommendations of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.
Naturally, the ELCO mask bag is made of sturdy 170g/m2 paper with the right format for hygienic face masks. They dry better in the paper sleeve rather than in plastic ones. Moreover, viruses survive less long on paper than on plastic. The mask bag has a plug cap for safe storage and can be used several times. But here, too, there is an additional rule to follow: don't touch the fabric of the mask, only the straps.
While the ELCO mask bag is more suitable for business use, the "Face-It Antibacterial Cases" from ZIPIT are aimed more at leisure and school use. The Face-It cases can be used to store face masks in a sterile condition thanks to their antibacterial lining, which complies with ISO 20743:201. The securely closable storage bags with additional compartments are machine washable and the lining can be easily wiped clean with antibacterial wipes. The Face-It bags are available in cheeky and fun designs. A special line offers a package consisting of a case with a child-friendly face mask in a matching design.
About the author
Thomas Tjiang is business and local journalist and communication consultant. Since the start of the 1990s, he has worked for all types of media, such as daily and monthly press, the radio, TV, news agencies and on-line editorial offices. The freelance expert for literature and communication science has lived in Nuremberg for 30 years.