The Real Cost of Disposables

In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic there is a grave human cost that has been tolled. But globally, in our efforts to slow the spread there is becoming another grave cost. Disposable PPE has 3 major downsides that need to be considered:

ECONOMIC COST

  • Purchasing – In excess of $10/employee per day
  • Reduced productivity
  • Waste storage and disposal
  • Inventory management and storage

ENVIRONMENTAL COST

  • US hospitals produce some 6 million tonnes of medical waste per year.
  • More than 40% of 24 countries sampled have inadequate health-care waste disposal.
  • Current options, such as incineration, landfill, or chemically treating waste, all have failings.
  • Reducing hospital waste will lessen the burden of disposal.

HUMAN COST

  • Recent respiratory outbreaks resulted in a global shortage of disposable masks. When staff are unprotected, this can adversely impact absenteeism and front line primary care.
  • Disposable masks commonly cause fogging, heat stress and breathing resistance. When staff are uncomfortable, productivity falls and patient care is affected.

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