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Dignity Healthcare Taps Medline Industries for Dye-Free Plastic

Dignity Health has become the first health system in the U.S. to switch to dye-free patient plastics.

Under the new initiative, Dignity Health will replace everyday products that are used at the patient’s bedside, such as bed pans (pictured), wash basins, water pitchers and drinking cups, with pigment-free products from Medline Industries in all of its hospitals and other care centers by May 2012.

Pigment-free products support greener manufacturing because they eliminate the need for potentially harmful chemicals during the manufacturing process, Dignity says. The company expects the move to minimize the release of hazardous chemicals into soil and groundwater and help protect and improve the environment and ultimately public health.

Based on its annual usage of these products, Dignity Health will divert an estimated 2,935 lbs of pigment from leaching into the soil and groundwater by switching to pigment-free plastics. The total value of the contract is $1 million per year.

The announcement is the latest in a line of environmental initiatives by the health care provider.

Between 2007 and 2011, Dignity, which was formerly known as Catholic Healthcare West, decreased water consumption by 9.8 percent. In 2008, it estimated that it reduced its waste volume by 41 tons by reusing single-use items such as scissors, scrubs and surgical blades.

Three years later the health system diverted 198,000 lbs of medical equipment from landfills and saved $5.6 million by increasing use of reusable products.

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