The demand for cleaning supplies is “extraordinary” and will remain so “for the foreseeable future”, according to the Cleaning & Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA).
The CHSA has said that its members are doing their best to source raw materials but that demand was set to continue as lockdown lifts and more businesses look to enact a strict hygiene routine. According to the organisation, demand will be greater because the virus is still in the population.
Lorcan Mekitarian, chair of the CHSA and sales director at plastics and rubber firm Berry BPI, told Facilitate that his company had been "really, really busy, we've been working to 120 to 130 per cent of our capacity since February to keep up with demand”.
He said: “We do clinical waste bags for the NHS. So, of course in all of this panic there's been a huge, huge usage of clinical waste bags so we've been throwing everything at it to keep up with demand.”
Mekitarian also says there are problems on availability of hand sanitisers because “the alcohol comes from the brewing industry and as we're drinking more on lockdown, there’s less available for hand sanitisers and there's better margins on alcohol”.
He added: “Unless new capacity comes on, hand sanitiser is always going to be expensive and in demand.”
He said there could also certainly be long-term shortages of nitrile gloves and cleaning chemicals.
He said: “There's only a finite amount of these active ingredients in the world at any one point in time, and as the industry comes back to work we think there’s going to be new huge hygiene requirements in factories, which will take the use of a lot of chemicals."
Last week the CHSA wrote to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) requesting it to investigate possible profiteering by unscrupulous organisations capitalising on the exceptional demand for cleaning and hygiene products.