Peer-reviewed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) research published by APIC’s journal confirms that reusable isolation gowns provide a significant improvement in energy, environmental footprint, water, and energy-associated emissions. Additionally, reusable gowns are more cost-effective and offer a 95% reduction in waste stream, it was announced in an ARTA release.
“Our life cycle analysis 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.
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. 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. The study is available online or in the printed journal and was conducted by Environmental Clarity, Inc., of Reston, Virginia.
About the Study
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.
How Do You Use LCA Data? Armed with LCA data, the next step is to identify ways to normalize the information and make the data part of your business case for converting a client from disposable to reusable systems.
To do this requires an understanding of who the decision makers are at client or prospect locations. Once decision makers are known, identify if the healthcare client has an Environmental Sustainability program. If a healthcare facility has a sustainability program, it’s typically noted on the organization’s website. Other resources are Practice Greenhealth in the U.S. and in Canada, the Canadian Coalition for Green Healthcare, Health Canada, and the Ministry of the Environment. Once sustainability targets are determined, prepare your business case and make sure to let the data tell a story.
To read the article in the American Journal of Infection Control, download a pdf from the organization’s website featuring this month’s articles: https://www.ajicjournal.org/current
ARTA-IAHTM LCA Committee
The study was organized by the ARTA LCA Committee, which contracted with the independent research firm Environmental Clarity. The research team included Michael Overcash, PhD, Eric Vozzola and Evan Griffing. The LCA Committee members include:
* Myles Noel of International Healthcare Association for Textile Management (IAHTM)
* Duane Houvener of American Dawn
* Janice Larson of Encompass
* Robert Long of European Textile Services Association (ETSA)
* Scott Delin of Fashion Seal
* Shelley Petrovskis of Lac Mac Limited
* Brendan O’Neill of London Hospital Linen Service and ARTA President
* Dan Sanchez of Medline
* Joe Ricci of TRSA