Antimicrobial Plastics & Polymers

Microban® antimicrobial plastic additives can be manufactured into a range of polymers to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew on the surface of the product.

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Microban is widely recognized as the world leader in built-in antimicrobial technologies. Our portfolio of antimicrobial additives helps keep polymer products and surfaces cleaner by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. Microban's customized chemistries are incorporated into plastic products at the point of manufacture and provide ongoing protection for the expected lifetime of the product.

What Is the Key Difference Between Plastics and Polymers?

In simple terms, all plastics are polymers but not all polymers are plastics. Polymers can exist organically or be created synthetically. They consist of chains of joined individual molecules or monomers. By contrast, plastics are composed of chains of polymers that can be partially organic or fully synthetic.

Polymers are classed into two categories: thermosetting polymers, and thermoplastic polymers.

Thermosetting Polymers
Also called ‘thermosets,’ these polymers become permanently rigid when heated, bonded by a physical crosslink. They cannot be melted down to be reshaped or reformed. Thermosets include items like silicone seals, window gaskets, epoxy resins, or polyurethane foams.
Thermoplastic Polymers
Thermoplastic polymers can be heated and cooled over and over to change their shape, becoming pliable under a certain heat level, and then solidifying when cooled. Thermoplastic polymers include polyethylene, polypropylene, epoxy, and polyester, making up items like plastic bags, water bottles, and food containers.

What Is an Antimicrobial Polymer?

Antimicrobial polymers are lightweight, strong substrates treated with an antimicrobial additive that becomes a permanent part of the material, making it inherently resistant to the growth of microbes.

Create High-Performing Antimicrobial Plastic Products with Microban®

Microban has over 25 approved antimicrobial technologies that can be formulated into polymer pellets, powders, or liquids. For injection molded or extruded thermoplastic polymers, an extensive set of specialized pellet-based masterbatches are available to ensure seamless incorporation. These masterbatches are designed to be used in a manner similar to color masterbatches and are safe to handle, accurate to add via a variety of methods, and fully compatible with your manufacturing method and material without requiring process changes.

Microban also offers a variety of powder and liquid-based masterbatches for other processes such as powder coating, reaction injection molding, cross-linked liquid applied coatings, roto-molding, and foaming. All of our antimicrobial technologies for plastics can be integrated without affecting gloss or matte surfaces, color, durability, and resistance to cleaning solvents.

The world-class research & development team at Microban includes experienced polymer engineers who work directly with partners to identify the best antimicrobial agents for their plastic products. More than 30,000 tests are conducted annually at our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and our team stands behind the efficacy of each application.

Microban antimicrobial additives are customized to our partners’ unique applications and environments. Our technologies are primarily comprised of Silver Ion and Zinc to achieve antibacterial and antifungal efficacy, respectively, to give end-users greater peace of mind and offer products that contribute to a systems approach to clean.

Download Our Antimicrobial Plastics Sell Sheet

Microban® Antimicrobial Technologies for Plastics and Polymers

Microban, the leader in antimicrobial solutions, has a wide portfolio of globally registered antimicrobial technologies that can be seamlessly integrated into polymer substrates to improve surface cleanliness and product durability. Microban technologies are embedded within the polymer itself, delivering continuous protection against microbes without affecting gloss or matte surfaces, optical clarity, color, or durability.

Compatible materials include Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS), Polyethylene (PE/LDPE), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and Polycarbonate (PC).

Microba® technologies are implemented by polymer product manufacturers around the globe across a variety of industries. Consumer, commercial, healthcare, and building materials all benefit from the added layer of protection provided by our portfolio of solutions. Explore some of our current partners in this space below.

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    Touchscreen Kiosks
    A leading player in metal and plastics finishings, MacDermid Enthone partners with Microban to achieve built-in antimicrobial protection on their hard-coated polyester film, Autotex AM. This unique application is an ideal solution for communal surfaces including door hardware, POS equipment, and touchscreen kiosks.
    Explore MacDermid

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    Trailer Liners
    Supporting compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) guidelines, Great Dane incorporates Microban® antimicrobial product protection into the polymer film liners of their refrigerated reefers. This added layer of protection is designed to hinder invisible threats and contribute to a cleaner transportation system.
    Explore Great Dane

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    Computer Accessories
    For the workplace and home office, Fellowes offers a line of Microban® treated computer accessories to keep common touchpoints cleaner for longer. Built-in Microban technology works continuously to fight the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria on items like keyboards, mousepads, workstations, and more.
    Explore Fellowes

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    Ideal for any modern kitchen, Omada’s Sanaliving range of plastic dishware features Microban technology to support longer-lasting cleanliness and durability. Treated Sanaliving products like cups, tableware, and bowls, are inherently protected from stain and odor-causing bacteria.
    Explore Omada

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    Workplace Communications
    Poly, a global leader in unified communications devices, offers select product lines enhanced with built-in Microban antimicrobial technology. Bringing peace of mind back to the office, treated Poly Rove and VVX x50 Desktop Phones are manufactured with an antimicrobial additive to create an inherently cleaner product.
    Explore Poly

    The Benefits of Microban® Antimicrobial Plastic Protection

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    Active 24/7

    Microban® antimicrobial protection is a permanent, cost-effective solution that remains active for your plastic product's expected lifetime.

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    Redefines Clean

    Microban® antimicrobial plastic additives create inherently cleaner and more durable plastic products. These invaluable features make antimicrobial plastics perfect for use in hygiene critical, high-traffic environments such as hospitals, food processing facilities and schools.

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    Effective Against Harmful Bacteria*

    Microban® antimicrobial plastic additives have been proven to reduce the presence of harmful bacteria on plastics. Tested strains include E. coli, Campylobacter, and antibiotic-resistant MRSA.

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    Breaks the Mold*

    Microban® antimicrobial plastic additives help your plastic product resist the growth of unsightly mold and mildew.

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    Stops the Stink

    Microban® preserves the aesthetics of your plastic product by minimizing the presence of stain and odor-causing bacteria.

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    Increases Product Longevity

    Microban actively inhibits the growth of microbes that will prematurely degrade plastics. This means your antimicrobial plastic product will benefit from an increased life expectancy and is less likely to end up as plastic waste.

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    Safe to Use

    Microban® antimicrobial plastic additives have undergone extensive independent laboratory testing and have a long history of safe use. The biocidal active components of Microban® antimicrobial plastic additives are notified with the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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    Food Contact Approved*

    Selected Microban® antimicrobial plastic technologies are food contact approved, being listed on EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), and registered with the EPA. They are also permitted for use in food contact applications by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States.

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    Trusted by Leading Manufacturers

    Microban® antimicrobial plastic additives are used and trusted by some of the world's leading plastic product manufacturers. Brand partners include Speck, Rubbermaid, GE Appliances, JCP Plastic and Whirlpool.

    Get in touch!

    If you are interested in developing an antimicrobial plastic product, contact the Microban® team today to discuss your project initiatives.

    *Subject to the performance properties of the specific antimicrobial plastic additive manufactured into your product. Treated product efficacy claims against specific microbes are dependant on the results of laboratory testing.