ecoTrain Question Of The Week Season 6 #1: PRIORITIES

My first post in the ecoTrain community and I was siked to start my first post here with something which is a very recent topic at the moment. See the ecoTrain post is about asking where your priorities are going in life and how you see them and that you will do to get there.

I am making them not about my life in this post, but about my work. I work in healthcare and in surgery and this one of the hottest topics at the moment than needs change.

How do we control our waste management in healthcare?


This image above is taken from the Youtube video you will see here down below. This lady made this video about all of the disposable material that was used during her 1 day procedure. Disposable gowns, syringes, gloves, sutures, all of the stuff that is normal for a procedure.

The lady here came for a DIEP surgery (DIEP stands for Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) which means she had a breast amputated and surgically made a new one from a piece of her abdomen. A beautiful procedure which takes all take and a lot of multi disciplinary working together from different teams.

The result? A beautiful new breast made from your own tissue. The way towards it? A lot of materials. And those are nowadays almost all disposable.

I remember when I started my surgical career we worked in reusable gowns which were washed and sterilized after surgery. I remember all instruments were reusable and were on trays which would be washed and sterilized. I remember we had our own mugs in the break room.

Then the hygienists took over and the finance kids took over. The hygienists ofcourse were complaining about the infection rates and that resterilizing instruments and material was super dangerous and needed to stop immediately. Also the finance department came with the message that buying everything in disposable was cheaper and easier, and in the long run everything would be eco-friendly for this, including even disposable coffee cups. Because this even more eco friendly than doing the dishes......

We were all quite sceptic. Not so much about the resterilizing part because in the end you know something is 'more clean' than when it is reused, this difference significant enough for change? But the motivation from the finance department? Well they have different agendas right?

So we we were sceptic about the enormous pile of waste this would turn into on a daily basis and it did as you can see here down below.

So now all of a sudden the world realizes that hospitals are responsable for a tremendous amount of waste and all of a sudden there is panic and it is 5 minutes to 12. I call this stupid and most of all too late.

Yes, there are good projects which are trying to start to make disposable material working together with waste management buros to see hwo they can make the projects best recycleable as possible, but the things is...this is costly...And nobody wants to pay more for their healthcare.


And that to be is the school example of all that that is the eco issue and should be prioritized. To change stuff there is money needed, and a different way of thinking. Someone needs to priortize this but no one wants to take the responsibility.

Ofcourse the quality is non debatable, so it needs to come from a different order. Currently a lot of these things are being discussed on how and what. So this will be a to be continued kind of post when a part is implemented. No solutions as yet, but I hope (but fear for it) that politics and the insurance companies (who rule healthcare) will sneak this one up the to-do list.

To be continued...


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