Sustainable healthcare and environmental life-cycle impacts of disposable supplies

A focus on disposable custom packs

Nicole Campion, Cassandra L. Thiel, Noe C. Woods, Leah Swanzy, Amy E. Landis, Melissa M. Bilec

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    34 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Disposable materials contribute to healthcare's estimated production of 33 pounds of waste per patient bed per day or approximately 5.9 million tons of waste each year. The shift toward disposable materials was initially driven by a variety of factors including the potential for infection control, convenience, and cost. The current use of single-use disposables in healthcare, however, has become costly, wasteful, and to some extent, unnecessary. Disposable custom packs, a set of products prepackaged for a specific procedure to reduce time and error, are utilized in nearly every medical procedure performed in the US and internationally. This study analyzed 15 custom packs from geographically diverse hospitals using life cycle assessment and design for the environment. Polypropylene, the material used to make gowns and drapes, was the most prominent material by weight, followed by cotton. However, the life cycle assessment results show that cotton composed the largest portion of environmental impacts in every category. Finally, a new green custom pack was designed. By using tools and strategies such as life cycle assessment and design for the environment, healthcare institutions can make educated streamlining efforts for their disposable custom packs.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)46-55
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Volume94
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 1 2015

    Fingerprint

    health care
    Life cycle
    life cycle
    Cotton
    cotton
    Environmental impact
    Polypropylenes
    environmental impact
    customs
    material
    Healthcare
    cost
    Life cycle assessment
    Costs

    Keywords

    • Design for the environment
    • Disposable materials
    • Life cycle assessment
    • Sustainable healthcare

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Strategy and Management

    Cite this

    Sustainable healthcare and environmental life-cycle impacts of disposable supplies : A focus on disposable custom packs. / Campion, Nicole; Thiel, Cassandra L.; Woods, Noe C.; Swanzy, Leah; Landis, Amy E.; Bilec, Melissa M.

    In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 94, 01.05.2015, p. 46-55.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Campion, Nicole ; Thiel, Cassandra L. ; Woods, Noe C. ; Swanzy, Leah ; Landis, Amy E. ; Bilec, Melissa M. / Sustainable healthcare and environmental life-cycle impacts of disposable supplies : A focus on disposable custom packs. In: Journal of Cleaner Production. 2015 ; Vol. 94. pp. 46-55.
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