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