MISSION, Kan. — In cleanroom facilities, both disposable and reusable textile garments meet the particulate standards from the most basic to the most rigorous levels. However, reusables offer two additional benefits: lower cost and reduced environmental impact.
That's what a recent study completed by the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA) on the environmental and economic impacts of using reusable and disposable cleanroom garments shows.
The study found that when U.S. cleanroom operations choose reusable coveralls over disposable ones more than 141 million megajoules (MJ) non-renewable energy (nre) (38 million kWh) is saved each year. Over a decade, 1.4 billion MJ nre is saved.
Annually, this environmental savings is equivalent to offsetting the carbon emissions from 1,650 cars, substituting for the diet impact of 4,100 persons, or displacing 89,000 iPads (design life).
Costs are reduced by 58% over disposables and provide economic savings estimated at $120 million each year, which is $1.2 billion over a decade, according to the study.
The financial savings of a full-market use of reusables would be about $210 million/year (nearly $2.1 billion in a decade). To capture the full benefit of reusables for a future market, 87.5% reusables were analyzed (12.5% are mandatory disposables).
The ARTA-supported study was conducted by Environmental Clarity and based, in part, on a previous life cycle analysis on cleanroom coveralls published in the PDA Journal.
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