3 Steps to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Clinical Laboratories
- November 19, 2020
- Augustine Wellington
The healthcare sector works wonders for the service of humanity and there’s no doubt healthcare workers deserve all the applause in the world for the efforts they put compromising their own comforts. Doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, clinical laboratory technicians, and every other person related to healthcare works tirelessly to ensure health and safety or patients. However, despite all the good they do, there’s a bleak side of the healthcare sector too and that has more to do with the environment.
The sector relies heavily on plastic and non-biodegradable materials which pose a major threat to the environment because it is not only difficult to recycle but over 65% of this waste ends up in landfills or is burnt. Clinical laboratories also leave a great amount of plastic waste which has a greater impact on the environment.
Here are 3 steps which could help reducing the environmental impact of clinical laboratories.
Reuse & Refill: While it is not ideal to reuse basic medical supplies such as pipette tubes or syringes, there’s still a wide range of products which could be reused to reduce emissions and environmental impact. Tip racks, refill spacers, and other packaging materials such as Styrofoam or cardboard boxes. Clinical laboratories could even urge manufacturers to take back the reusable products and recycle them. This not only reduces the impact of clinical waste on the environment but also helps in reducing the load on health workers while efficiently managing the waste and putting it to good use. Many medical supply packing and racks are automatically designed to be reused as refill holders or medicine racks. While making purchase for medical supplies keep this in mind and buy ecofriendly products. It is also important how you choose to discard your waste. Choose Non Plastic Bin Liners
Recycle: Since it is impossible to completely eliminate waste from hospitals and clinical laboratories or to reuse everything since a lot of medical supplies are regarded medical waste and cannot be reused at all, it is best that clinical laboratories and hospitals take up the responsibility and recycle their waste on priority so it doesn’t find its way into the ecosystem and become one more reason for increasing global warming. Since a lot of medical waste is made of plastic, it is increasingly hard to recycle and decompose it properly. There’s another category of hazardous chemical waste from clinical laboratories that needs to be handled carefully too. It is important that both the plastic waste and hazardous waste are put through detailed recycling process to ensure they don’t damage the environment or end up in the oceans.
Responsible Buying: This should actually be the first step towards ecological sustainability. Clinical laboratories should opt for responsible manufacturers that consider and maintain sustainable business practices in order to reduce the impact of their products on the environment. Avoid as much plastic as possible, be organic on as many levels as you can and replace plastic wherever you can such as bin liners, urine bags and medical packaging etc.