By Cameron Chai
Daniels Sharpsmart, a supplier of recyclable systems for sharps waste disposition and a known company for medical waste disposal, claimed that a technology paper presented at LCA XI CHICAGO, a symposium of ecological impact specialists, has mentioned that the reusable sharps containers supplied by Sharpsmart generate nearly 81% less greenhouse gas (GHG) discharges than other types of normal non-recyclable containers.
S64 Sharpsmart Access Plus Container. Credit: Daniels Sharpsmart
The research paper titled, "Impact on Carbon Footprint: An LCA of Disposable vs. Reusable Sharps Containers in a Large U.S. Hospital" was presented by the senior author and consultant microbiologist, Terry Grimmond along with Infection Control & Prevention Coordinator, Sandra Reiner from Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago and two other environmental experts from the UK.
According to the researchers, the hospitals at the USA generate around 3% of greenhouse gas (GHG) discharges and are trying their best to bring down their global warming potential (GWP). They also found that nearly 54% of such discharges were contributed by supply chain services and goods. The researchers attempted to bring down the GWP by substituting the disposable sharp containers (DSC) provided by supply chain points by reusable sharp containers (RSC) and found that hospitals can bring down their GWP by utilizing reusable sharp containers.
The researchers calculated that every year US hospitals throw away around 35 million disposable (DSC) or reusable (RSC) containers of sharps such as scalpels, needles and others, which in turn produce around 90,000 t of carbon dioxide or similar gases during the production, usage and dumping stages. They performed a life cycle assessment (LCA) by utilizing the data provided by 850-bed Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH), which opted for RSC from DSC.
The study found that the use of RSC has helped NMH to prevent 34,000 plastic containers from reaching landfills thus, saving over 29 t yearly. The study also found that GHG discharges came down by 88 t. It estimates that the reusable sharp containers all over the USA will save over 18,000 t of plastic from going to landfills and prevent around 55,000 t of carbon dioxide discharges every year.