Do Green Medical Supplies Exist?
Being Green is a goal many people are working towards in today’s world but just how attainable is it if you use medical supplies? Many medical supplies are made from plastics and rubbers that are derived from chemicals. If a product comes in contact with bodily fluids, like blood or urine, then it can not be recycled (no matter what the plastic is stamped) and has to be disposed of in a sharps container or biohazard container, like the Covidien SharpSafety™ Chemotherapy Sharps Containers or specialty trash bag. This not only protects the person using the products from cross contamination, but it also protects the trash men disposing of your products.
Some medical supplies will be marked PVC or DHEP - Free. Meaning that they do not contain the chemicals PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and DHEP (di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate) which have been proven harmful to humans. Other manufacturers are moving towards removing harmful BPA (Bisphenol A) from their plastic products, like baby and water bottles. Removing these harmful chemicals from medical supplies, as well as from hospital room environments, is a forward step to making people healthier. You can now purchase incontinence and female products made of 100% cotton, like the Organyc Incontinence Pads with Wings, or products like the 100% Petroleum-Free plant based Environmentally Friendly Convoluted Foam Hospital Bed Pads.
Although being green is harder with disposable medical supplies, it’s easier with permanent fixtures like walkers, wheelchairs, and canes. If you are able to hold on to your equipment longer than your insurance will pay for a new one, this helps create less waste in our landfills. This is not to say that you should hold on to something if newer technology will help your situation, it is just something to think about.
Being green in the medical industry can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you are committed to living a greener life, and your use of medical supplies does not allow that, you might look at greening up other aspects of your life to help create more balance.