Climate Change & NewGen Surgical Impacts – A Perspective

Climate ChangeThe healthcare supply chain is built on plastics, designed for single use and disposal. Plastics are made of oil, and the use of plastics in healthcare supports fossil fuel dependence, contributing to climate change. To promote public health and curb pollution, the healthcare industry must improve the supply chain, with better material inputs and healthier disposal options. NewGen Surgical is doing just that, with products that are designed for a healthy environment.

By using an agricultural by-product as the primary product ingredient, NewGen Surgical curbs greenhouse gases and organic waste beginning with the selection of raw materials. The use of plant-based materials results in healthier products. It also creates the conditions for better waste management processes. Because plastic does not biodegrade, many plastic medical devices are essentially designed for landfill. Plant-based materials, however, can be recycled or even composted, making possible a circular healthcare supply chain.

The healthcare industry is a major consumer of plastics, and one of the highest generators of waste. Radical resource conservation and a sharp divergence from fossil fuels are needed to protect our patients and communities from climate change.

NewGen Surgical brings these principals to the healthcare supply chain, protecting the climate
and public health while delivering quality products for excellent patient care.

Erika Kimball, RN, MBA
Erika Kimball Sustainable Healthcare Consulting
NewGen Surgical Advisor

The healthcare industry can reduce its GHG impacts most effectively by increasing the energy efficiency of its buildings and transportation as well as educating the public on the increasing impacts of extreme variations in temperature on public health. In addition, however, the products that are used by healthcare in providing its key services each carry embedded energy and carbon in their production, use and disposal. Switching to more sustainable products across healthcare purchasing can also reduce a hospital’s climate impact for a better future for its patients, employees, and surrounding community. Each NewGen Surgical product replaces plastic with an equivalent weight of a biodegradable material sourced from an agricultural waste.

Practice Greenhealth describes the impact of waste as follows:
Waste disposal produces greenhouse gas emissions in several ways. Transporting waste from facilities to disposal site requires energy and produces greenhouse gas emissions. Waste disposal practices themselves also produce greenhouse emissions, along with other environmental pollutants. Anaerobic decomposition of organic matter in landfills produces CH4 (although landfills are also carbon sinks), and waste incineration emits N2O and CO2.

A comprehensive approach to facility waste management includes diversion of construction and demolition debris, material recycling, composting of food waste, reuse, and donation reduces these emissions. It also lowers facilities’ demand for virgin resources, thus mitigating emissions produced in resource extraction, manufacturing, and product transportation.
Practice Greenhealth suggests several strategies for waste reduction that are relevant to NewGen Surgical, namely 1) prevent waste and 2) buy recycled products.

NewGen Surgical can help healthcare facilities optimize these strategies to reduce their climate impact.

Dr. Ann Blake,PhD
Environmental & Public Health Consulting
NewGen Surgical Advisory