The American Reusable Textile Association, or ARTA, recently published a life cycle assessment of surgical gowns. Standard Textile has a long and proud history of environmental stewardship and commitment to responsible products and processes. We share their findings with permission.
Reusable surgical gown life cycle results continue the conclusions from six other reusable/disposable gown/coverall studies that show reusables provide a significant improvement when compared to disposables in energy, environmental footprint, blue water, and energy associated emissions. Blue water represents water that is used and not returned to the source, and thus represents depletion of a fresh water source.
What is a surgical gown life cycle assessment? Surgical gowns were studied thoroughly from material extraction from the earth, to the manufacture of the gown product, to use including laundry and sterilization, to final end-of-life. This scope and the results emphasize transparent, science-based life cycle assessment.
Medical laundry operations find and return a significant amount of lost surgical instruments to healthcare facilities. The instruments are often found wrapped in surgical drapes and would otherwise have been lost to a landfill. The value of these items was found (in other studies) to be in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per year.
The ARTA-IAHTM Surgical Gown LCA was funded by the ARTA Life Cycle Assessment Committee. Read the complete study in the March 2020 issue of the AORN Journal.
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