Reusable Scrubs - Polyester Funk in the Operating Room!
Industrial laundering of surgical gowns has proven its environmental value according to a study carried out for the European Textile Services Association. The independent organization, dk-Teknik Energy & Environment, in Denmark carried out an LCA of 5 types of surgical gowns — 3 reusable gowns and 2 disposable options. The 100% polyester (microfibre) even with its fluorocarbon finish came out on top, outranking all other options including the 50/50 cotton/polyester mix. Reusable gowns clearly showed lower impacts than their disposable counterparts even when they compared the "best case" for disposables and the "worst case" for reusables. A summary of the study is apparently available in English but the link doesn't work and the full LCA is only available in Swedish. So we'll have to trust the short summary available here. The LCA follows ISO standards and examined energy consumption, global warming, acidification (of water and soil), eutrophication (nutrient discharges to water) and post-consumer waste. So for all of those surgeons reading TH (we hope you are many) — make sure your employer is keeping those hospital greens greener.