December 5, 2023

“Green” Biodegradable Medical Gowns Actually Produce Harmful Greenhouse Gases

That wisdom may be incorrect.
” Theres no magic bullet to this issue,” said Fengqi You, professor in energy systems engineering at Cornell University.
” Plasticized standard medical dress take numerous years to break down and the naturally degradable gowns break down much faster, but they produce gas emissions much faster like included methane and carbon dioxide than regular ones in a garbage dump,” stated You, who is a senior faculty fellow in the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. “Maybe the conventional gowns are not so bad.”
According to this research led by Cornell doctoral student Xiang Zhao, naturally degradable dress production poses an additional 11% greater eco-toxicity rate than conventional options.
Embracing landfill gas capture and utilization processes in naturally degradable dress sanitary garbage dumps can reduce 9.79% of greenhouse emissions, life-cycle garbage dump use by almost 49%, and conserve at least 10% of fossil resources by using onsite power co-generation, the researchers discovered.
Traditional dress are ecologically and socially sustainable due to the fact that they can posture 14% less toxicity to human beings, trigger 10% fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and are almost 10% less hazardous to freshwater when compared to naturally degradable gowns in land fills with additional gas emissions.
Improving the gas capture performance above 85% can make naturally degradable gowns more environmentally sustainable than standard gowns.
” Its nice to break down the plastic into smaller things,” Zhao said. “But those small things eventually decompose into gas and if we dont catch them, they become greenhouse gases that go into the air.”
Reference: “How sustainable are the naturally degradable medical gowns by means of ecological and social life cycle evaluation?” by Xiang Zhao, Jiří Jaromír Klemeš, Michael Saxon, and Fengqi You, 14 November 2022, Journal of Cleaner Production.DOI: 10.1016/ j.jclepro.2022.135153.
The study was moneyed by the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) with funding from the NSF and New York State Empire State Developments Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation.

Medical dress are garments used by health care workers, clients, and visitors in medical centers to avoid the spread of infection. These gowns are normally made from disposable products such as paper or polypropylene, and are created to safeguard the wearers clothing and skin from direct exposure to bodily fluids, chemicals, and other impurities.
According to brand-new research released in the Journal of Cleaner Production, naturally degradable medical gowns, which were intended to be a more environmentally friendly option to standard medical gowns, have actually been found to produce harmful greenhouse gases during their decay process.
Making use of non reusable plasticized medical dress– both standard and eco-friendly– has risen given that the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Garbage dumps now overflow with them.
Due to the fact that the naturally degradable version decomposes faster than conventional gowns, popular wisdom held that it uses a greener choice by less space use and chronic emissions in landfills.