MISSION, Kan. —For the first time in history, an esteemed, peer-reviewed journal has published research that confirms the sustainability benefits of reusable isolation gowns, according to the American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA).
ARTA, in conjunction with the International Association for Healthcare Management (IAHTM) and other ARTA members, funded the research comparing the life cycles of reusable versus disposable isolation gowns.
This LCA has now been peer-reviewed and published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control. The study was conducted by Environmental Clarity Inc. of Reston, Va.
Peer-review is an intensive process that confirms the credibility of research and provides a scientific, irrefutable record that documents the sustainability benefit of reusable isolation gowns, states ARTA.
“Our life-cycle analysis (LCA) proves that reusable isolation gowns are the responsible choice for healthcare clients who care about reducing energy costs, carbon footprint, as well as purchasing and waste disposal costs,” says ARTA President Brendan O’Neill of London Hospital Linen Service Inc. in London, Ontario.
Disposable and reusable isolation gowns were studied from their inception as raw materials in the earth to manufacture of the coverall product, to use/reuse, then to final end-of-life disposition. The scope and the results emphasize transparent, science-based life cycle analysis. An abstract on the study is available at www.ARTA1.com.
The study found that choosing reusable isolation gowns instead of disposable alternatives decreases the environmental footprint by:
- 28% lower natural resource energy consumption.
- 30% lower greenhouse gas emissions (measured as CO2 eq emissions).
- 41% lower total water consumed (blue water1).
- 93-99% lower solid waste generation at healthcare facility.
End users can count these improvements as a credit toward improving their sustainability programs, ARTA says.
Armed with LCA data, the association says the next step is to identify ways to normalize the information and make the data part of a business case for converting a client from disposable to reusable systems.
To read the article in the American Journal of Infection Control, download a PDF here.
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