Reynolds Packaging's quick actions help fill need for PPE
A local company that started in a Green Bay garage more than two decades ago is now helping keep Wisconsinites safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reynolds Packaging makes flexible packaging for the food industries, which include compostable films. However, when they heard about the need for PPE items, they quickly changed gear and created Green Bay Filter & Mask. It took them about a month to design and set up the right equipment to make personal protective equipment.
"We are a manufacture, so it was easy for us to transition and pivot to manufacturing personal protective equipment," said Lisa Reynolds, the CEO of Reynolds Packaging and Green Bay Filter & Mask. "We did that out of necessity. We teamed up with another non-woven company here in Green Bay and started manufacturing."
The non-woven material has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration under an Emergency Use Authorization. The filtration level is at least 95 percent and helps keep particles from entering or exiting the mask.
The Reynolds quickly started mass producing two types-- a face mask specifically for those in healthcare and a filter that sticks to reusable masks.
"It gives people the ability to wear own face mask but still be protected," said Reynolds.
The removable filters are already being used by the Green Bay Area Public School District.
"Within 2 weeks, he had produced 100,000 pieces for us so I could distribute immediately so our staff could be protected," said Jake Alverson, director of procurement with the Green Bay Area Public School District.
Alverson said if students are allowed back into the schools this fall, they will use the filters because it's kid and budget friendly. The district has to find ways to properly protect about 21,000 students and a few thousand more staff members.
"I ran the numbers earlier and at at $0.65 a mask, for a disposable mask, you are looking at $14,900 dollars a day if you outfit everybody with a disposable mask per day so that's $75,000 a week for us and that is not practical," said Alverson. "So the other alternative is to buy cloth masks, which are $2-4 dollars and we could fit everyone with a cloth mask for under $50,000 and then with Reynolds Packaging filter at $0.07 a piece... and then your cost is only $0.35 cents a week per student and staff member, which is better than $0.65 cents a mask every single day."
Reynolds said its next step is to team up with a distributor to get these filters into the hands of more Wisconsinites.
"So that way the normal public will be able to purchase it off the shelf," said Kelly Reynolds, COO of Reynolds Packaging, Green Bay Filter & Mask. "That's our main goal and we are looking forward to keeping Northeast Wisconsin healthy."
For more information on the face masks or filters, head to https://greenbayfacemask.com/