A New England based product development company has created an environmentally friendly antimicrobial tray table cover for personal use on airplanes, trains and buses. trayGUARD+ uses fabric made from 100% non-BPA PET recycled plastic bottles and addresses travelers‚ growing concerns of dirty and germy shared surfaces on airplanes, while taking advantage of an existing material source that may otherwise be wasted.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, only a small percentage of the 60 million plastic bottles used daily in the United States are recycled. Of those bottles that are recycled, most are made into new bottles. A small percentage of the recycled material is alternately turned into new products for consumer use. Utilizing recycled materials rather than virgin plastic for new products reduces the negative environmental impacts associated with extraction and preprocessing, such as greenhouse gas emissions. Using recycled materials also reduces the amount of material that ends up in landfills. Further, the more consumer demand there is for products with recycled materials, the more incentive there is for recycling.
trayGUARD+ was born from company co-founders, Jason Drebitko's and Alexys Wilbur's desire to have an antimicrobial cover that could slip over and be fastened onto an airline tray table, cover it completely, and ideally be recycled when leaving the airplane. According to Drebitko who holds a graduate degree in environmental studies, and industrial designer Alexys Wilbur, „it was important to us to not only source a fabric that had high efficacy, but also find a fabric that was made from recycled material." For every 3 plastic bottles recycled, 4 trayGUARD+s can be made. Not only does each trayGUARD+ made divert plastic bottles that might otherwise end up in a landfill, it is also a continuously effective alternative to disposable wipes.