THE success of a paper-based disposable washbowl made by a Bolton company could spread worldwide.

Vernacare plans to export its award winning paper pulp washbowl around the world and says there is a £35 million market for it.

The washbowl took several years for Vernacare’s in-house design team to develop.

It can hold warm soapy water for at least four hours without leaking and avoids the infection risk associated with reusing traditional plastic bowls.

According to chief executive Karen Haslam, Vernacare plans to build exports on the back of the firm’s recent Queen’s Award for Innovation.

She was speaking at a special event held at the company on Folds Road when the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren Smith, presented the firm with an engraved bowl with a Royal crest to commemorate the event.

Mrs Haslam said: “It’s a great recognition of our business and the fact we are very innovative who work closely with our customers.

“We now plan to launch the washbowl across our main export markets of Australia, Canada and South Africa. The pulp washbowl is now widely used in 94 per cent of NHS hospitals and the development of the product was carried out with help from medical staff at the Royal Bolton Hospital.”

The company invited the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton Cllr Noel and Alice Spencer, suppliers and customers, members of the staff and Bolton North East MP David Crausby to its site.

Visitors were given guided tours and shown how old newspapers are used, through a series of processes, to create a pulp slurry and then formed into a variety of disposable medical objects, including urine bottles, bedpans and now the washbowl.

Vernacare was one of only three companies in Greater Manchester to receive the coveted award.

Mrs Haslam said: “I have been here for 30 years and in that time we have become leaders in our market and a driving force for innovation.” Since the introduction of disposable paper pulp products the rates of cross infection and the killer bug C-difficile in NHS hospitals had significantly decreased.

Mrs Haslam said the company employs 220 people and exports to 40 countries worldwide.

The company is expecting that once the orders roll in for the washbowls and other pulp products made at Vernacare, the company, which already works around the clock five days a week, will introduce three shifts at weekend as well in order to cope with the demand.