SBS Forum on PPE and Textile Care 2020

August 19, 2020

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Strengthening the PPE sector and circular economy – A path to a safe and responsible Europe


20 October 2020, 09:00 – 12:15

Online event


 Click here to downlod the event report. Link to presentations are available next to each speaker, below.



The recent COVID-19 crisis has exposed the limited capacity of Europe’s safety equipment manufacturers. Although demand for PPE products surged to unprecedented level that global capacity was not prepared for, Europe’s dependency on the global supply chain showed its fragility and threatened the security and wellbeing of its citizens. The EC response through faster conformity assessment procedure and the imposition of export authorisation scheme through regulations EU 2020/402 and EU 2020/568 were able to (1) make PPE quickly available on the market and (2) ensure that the EU market needs are met before supplying other markets. On the other hand, disposable facemasks bought from outside Europe did not meet European standards in some cases. SBS addressed these points through its latest position paper on PPE and called for the need to invest in the capacity of European PPE manufacturers to be prepared for future crisis.


The apparent dependency on disposable masks also brought up discussions on reusable solutions. The consistent use of reusable solutions can make a significant contribution to achieving the EU's climate policy goals as well secure the local supply with PPE. However, some standards like the EN 14683:2019 for medical face masks, only cover disposable products and do not take into account reusable (washable) solutions. Including aspects of reusability and repairability into more standards already was a topic in a SBS position paper published in March 2020. 


Product life extension is a fundamental element of the textile services business model. With the need to draft harmonised standards for the PPE Regulation 2016/425 and Medical Device Regulation 2017/745 there are opportunities to include requirements related to reuse, reprocessing, repairability and recyclability. One solution could be SUCAM guidelines (Selection, Use, Care and Maintenance) that have been developed for all kinds of PPE products address some of these issues. However, they need to be amended in a way that they incorporate the circular thinking as there is no requirement in the regulation yet to aim for longer lifecycles of products for example. 




09.00-09.10          Signing in of participants


09.10-09.15          Welcome

  • Maitane Olabarria Uzquiano, Small Business Standards (SBS)


09.15-09.50          Session 1: Setting the Scene: recent development from EC – PPE WG and CEN


Topics for discussion:


  • European Commission’s long-term plans, especially with reusable PPE
  • Assessment of the EC on SMEs PPE manufacturers response to COVID-19
  • How can standards support circular economy of PPE? What is needed, in terms of compliance?
  • Would PPE standards that support circular economy strengthen European SME PPE manufacturers position in the market?
  • Can the protection of workers go hand in hand with the protection of environment in regard to the PPE regulation?



  • Rostislav Varbanov, Legal Officier, Unit C.3DG GROW, European Commission | Presentation
  • Catherine VIGNERON, Standardization and Digital Solutions,  CEN-CENLEC | Presentation


Moderator: Sebastiano Toffaletti, Secretary General SME Safety


09.50-10.00         Break


10.00-10.45         Session 2: Secure local supply chains with reusable PPE


Topics for discussion:

  • Strengthening reusable solutions and safeguarding local supply chains
  • Supporting authorities and businesses in selecting the right PPEs for the circular economy
  • Level the playing field - creating standards that suit reusable as well as disposable products (Ex. EN 14683:2019 for medical face masks)



  • Daniel Dalkowski, Consultant for international projects, DTV | Presentation
  • Andrea Spasciani, Area ManagerSpasciani Group/SME Safety | Presentation
  • Sven Schöppe, SBS Expert | Presentation


Moderator: Andreas Schumacher, Managing Director, DTV


10.45-10.55        Break


10:55-11:40       Session 3: Implementing circular economy aspects into standardisation


Topics for discussion:

  • Repair and prepare the next generation: The textile services sector’s contribution to the EC’s "Recovery Plan for Europe”
  • How to design PPE products that are suitable for circular economy. How can standards support such design?
  • PPE SUCAM documents as a best practice to implement aspects of reuse, recycling, and repair.



  • Valeria Botta, Programme Manager, European Environmental Citizens'​ Organisation for Standardisation (ECOS) | Presentation
  • Andrea Rechtsteiner, SBS expert | Presentation
  • Thomas Leucht, SBS Expert | Presentation


Moderator: Andreas Schumacher, Managing Director, DTV


11.40-12.05        Q&A

12.05-12.15       Closing remarks




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