The Rise of Hospital Waste


According to the World Health Organization, hospitals generate over one pound of garbage per hospital bed per day.  When you do the math that is an output that rivals small towns, with American hospitals leading the pack by generating nearly 6,600 tons of waste every day (1).  Needless to say, this is a lot of waste and unfortunately, a lot of that waste is in the form of plastics.

“Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose. Normally, plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. Even plastic bags we use in our everyday life take anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years to decompose, and plastic bottles can take 450 years or more (2).” Furthermore, plastic trash has the biggest impact on our environment, wildlife, and humans. Plastics can be found in our rivers and oceans, killing wildlife and transferring Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT) chemical compounds to the wildlife that consume them (3).

According to a Toronto doctor, “for procedures outside the OR, scissors, suturing equipment and so on used to be re-sterilized and wrapped in washable linen. Nowadays, these instruments have been replaced by the disposable kind; and the surgical trays are now wrapped in plastic, which is also thrown out.” Manufacturers may be erring towards more single-use items to avoid liability when they’re not certain a product can be 100% sterilized (4).

It seems that hospitals are moving more towards disposable plastics when the rest of the world is working to become environmentally friendly.  How can this trend be fixed to lower the amount of plastic waste created by hospitals?

One solution is to encourage the reuse of items by supporting the process of sterilizing and disinfecting hospitals items rather than leaning on disposable plastic items.

This is a key reason why GloTran was created.  GloTran is a low-temperature disinfectant machine that can clean plastics and electronics using innovative cold plasma technology. It is quick and easy to use, allowing items to be disinfected and reused, rather than thrown away.  Let’s work together to help hospitals become more sustainable.  Contact us today for more information on how GloTran can help you or set up a virtual or in-person meeting with a GloTran Disinfection Specialist.



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