Public places are hotspots for contagious diseases. To help fight the health pandemic Finnish company Fortum has developed Vipu, a hands-free handle for opening doors and cabinets in public places.

The clean-energy company has joined forces with the biggest retail chain in Finland to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and offers a practical solution to the increasingly non-touch world in which we find ourselves. As we’ve been repeatedly told by medical experts, good hand hygiene is key in preventing infections. 

Fortum, based in Helsinki, is a plastic packaging recycler and has developed the sustainable door handle from recycled consumer plastic packaging waste — collected and sorted from Finnish households. 

The handle gives waste plastic a new life while protecting people from the risk of infection. The device is a simple add-on to an existing door, and let’s people open it with their arms, minimizing the touching of handles with hands and fingers. 

“By innovating our surroundings, we can prevent the spread of the virus and give people a chance to do their daily chores more safely.” says Fortum Brand Manager Jussi Mälkiä. “We are testing these 3D-printed handles in a real environment for a few weeks and if everything goes as planned, we are ready to expand production.” 

To scale quickly and to get feedback on user experience, the project has been piloted with Finland’s biggest retailer, S-group, which will inform further product development.