An anti-viral sustainable snood has been introduced in the UK, featuring a treatment to the fabric that prevents the risk of infection through the hands when touched.

Developed by Plymouth company Project Plan B, the face covering is produced entirely in the UK, using a Leicester-based manufacturer. It has been brought to market with support from industry association PCIAW (Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide).

Project Plan B sought to find a way to avoid possible contamination of the fabric from hands touching the fabric when putting on the snood, adjusting it and taking off. Its response was to add a treatment to stop the risk of infection through the hands. This technology has been tested successfully against the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.  After treatment, the fabric is resistant to harmful microbes and viruses, with 99% anti-viral efficacy when tested to the standard ISO 18184.

Both the snood and Project Plan B’s face mask are made from GRS-certified recycled polyesters and the anti-viral treatment will last for at least 30 washes at 40C.

Once the snood has reached the end of its life, Project Plan B will take it back to recycle it and ensure a cyclical life span that does not endanger the planet.

Project Plan B is committed to tackling global environmental challenges faced by the textile industry. Everything that it does is designed to be recycled.

Tim Cross, director of Project Plan B, said: “When the coronavirus pandemic started, we immediately wanted to know how we could help.  We didn’t want to disrupt existing supply chains that were equipping the NHS with medical masks but focused our attention on the essential workers who are still potentially exposing themselves daily to virus. We were especially concerned that in this rush to supply, the environment was being ignored.

“We completely understand that during a time of crisis we have to act quickly to protect lives. However, it is surely incumbent upon us as designers and product developers to think about the products end of working life.

“At Project Plan B we believe you must design everything to be recycled at end of life so that you can use those fabrics, so rich in resources again and again. The textile world needs to think in a circular way and build in sustainability to their design.

“Our face covering is made from recycled polyester and can be recycled back into usable polyester at end of life, with built-in circularity, to be used again and again.

“Disposable masks are adding to the industry-wide problem of mass manufacture and waste.”

Project Plan B wants the cost of the product to be “considerably cheaper” than other options available in the market, making it accessible for more people.

Cross added: “Our motto here is ‘protect others, protect the planet’. The garment will be made from recycled plastic bottles and the treatment will last for at least 30 washes. We, of course, are concerned with the sustainable aspect of everything we do and wanted to make sure this garment would have the longevity and durability needed.”