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Should Brands Sanitize Packages to Reassure Consumers?


While it’s unlikely anyone will become infected with the COVID-19 virus from touching a contaminated package, a valid question is: What can you do to reassure consumers that your package is safe during this pandemic?

A couple weeks ago, as deaths in the US due to the COVID-19 coronavirus spiked, people were asking me what brand owners could or should do better or different to reassure consumers that their packages aren’t carrying today’s plague. While it’s unlikely anyone will become infected with the COVID-19 virus from touching a contaminated package, the question is valid: What can you do to reassure consumers that your package is safe?

One possibility might be to wrap a package in a clear, easily removable film (like a perforated shrink wrap). Once stripped, the surface of the now-exposed package might be seen as pristine. But that would add significant cost — not just in packaging material but possibly in capital expenditures if you need to buy a machine to apply the film. It would add another step in the packaging line operation, too.

Although it’s debatable that disinfecting a filled-and-sealed package before it is packed by machine or robot for shipping would make a discernable difference in protecting against a virus, I believe cleansing the outside of a package would comfort highly concerned consumers. Many consumers are washing packages themselves before handling or storing them at home, regardless of if they bought them online or at a physical store.

Would they appreciate it if a package was disinfected before being shipped directly to them — free of another human’s touch from the time is was cleaned until the time it was received? Perhaps.

Following this thought then, how do you clean the outside of a package effectively and efficiently? Pulsed light has been an option for some time to decontaminate the inside of packaging. It could probably also be used to sterilize the outside.

But there are other options.

What if you sprayed the outside of a package with a decontaminant? What would you need then?

Well, Exair Corp. just launched a new spray nozzle that may answer your needs. According to the company, its new 1/2 NPT No Drip External Mix Air Atomizing Spray Nozzle works the same way its standard atomizing nozzles do. With the new product, compressed air and liquid flows can be adjusted independently. So, because the nozzles positively stop liquid flow when the compressed air is shut off, they also conserve liquid by eliminating drips, which saves money.

Because of concerns that COVID-19 could possibly be transmitted through packaging, when I saw the news about this No Drip Spray Nozzle, I wondered about the possibly of using the new nozzle for coronavirus consideration: to sanitize packages, or even packaging machines handling said packages. Exair’s director of sales and marketing, Kirk Edwards, answers, “These products can spray just about anything that needs to be sprayed and can certainly spray liquids used to disinfect, clean, sanitize.”

As far as how much liquid is conserved with Exair’s new 1/2 NPT No Drip Spray Nozzle, Edwards says he can’t place a quantity on the amount. “It would be compared to a nozzle that would drip after shutoff, which will vary greatly,” he says. “The volumetric flow rate of that liquid through the nozzle and the pressure will also come into play to determine the liquid saved — all application specific.”

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