Ecolab Surgical Drapes Break Down in Landfills
Ecolab has introduced Genesys, a new line of plastic drapes and waste bags that uses technology that speeds breakdown of the material into primary organic matter when disposed of in biologically active landfills.
The products do not need to be separated from other waste material, Ecolab says.
The Genesys line of surgical drapes and waste bags are designed to help hospitals achieve sustainability goals without changing clinical practices, says Andrew Gaillard, vice president of marketing, Ecolab Global Healthcare.
Petrochemical-derived plastics, such as polyethylene, which are used in most surgical equipment drapes and waste bags, do not biodegrade. Genesys products use a proprietary organic additive that enhances the plastic’s ability to absorb moisture, attract microbes and facilitate conversion into primary organic matter and gas.
The plastics break down up to 35 percent in just 21 months when tested according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D5511 test.
A 2012 report by the Commonwealth Fund found that health facilities create 6,600 tons of waste each day, much of which is transported to landfills. Operating rooms account for about 33 percent of all hospital supply, energy and waste costs.
The results of an Ecolab blind survey of nearly 200 hospital purchasing officers, clinicians and sustainability decision makers found that 50 percent of the respondents reported concern about the current amount of waste produced in the operating room. In addition, 70 percent said that sustainability concerns are influencing changes in hospital policies and processes. Seventy-nine percent view the use of products that break down faster in landfills as sound policy that aligns with their facilities’ values.
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