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Ecolab introduces compostable drapes and waste bags



By Karen McIntyre



Published January 3, 2014
Related Searches: drapes Andrew sustainability surgical drapes
Ecolab has introduced Genesys, a new line of plastic drapes and waste bags featuring technology that speeds breakdown of the material into primary organic matter when disposed of in biologically active landfills. The products do not need to be separated from other waste material.

"Hospitals are making meaningful commitments to protect the health of their communities by becoming better stewards of the environment," says Andrew Gaillard, vice president of marketing, Ecolab Global Healthcare. "The Genesys line of surgical drapes and waste bags are designed to help hospitals protect patients and staff from infections acquired in the operating room, and achieve environmental goals without changing current clinical practices."

It is an accepted fact that petrochemical-derived plastics, such as polyethylene, which are used in most surgical equipment drapes and waste bags today, do not biodegrade. Genesys products use a proprietary organic additive that enhances the plastic's ability to absorb moisture, attract microbes and facilitate conversion into primary organic matter and gas. The plastics break down up to 35% in just 21 months when tested according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D5511 test.

A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation working toward a high performing health care system, found that health facilities create 6600 tons of waste each day, much of which is transported to landfills. Operating rooms account for about 33% of all hospital supply, energy and waste costs.

The results of an Ecolab blind survey of nearly 200 hospital purchasing officers, clinicians and sustainability decision makers found that 50% of the respondents reported concern about the current amount of waste produced in the operating room. In addition, 70% said that sustainability concerns are influencing changes in hospital policies and processes. Seventy-nine percent view the use of products that break down faster in landfills as sound policy that aligns with their facilities' values.