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How Australian Hospitals Contribute to Climate Change

Taking action is a team effort

Healthcare services and hospitals are becoming active in eco-friendly trends

Climate Change Impact is All Around Us

More significant bushfires, more heatwaves, rising seas, stormier storms, dying coral reefs and more prolonged droughts… all of these are proven to be from the impact of climate change. [1]

How are we contributing to these changes, and what actions can we take?

Mostly, when we think of ‘hospitals’ and the healthcare industry, we think of the excellent work they do in saving lives and helping people of all ages recover from illness and accident.

But, there is also a darker side. According to Lancet, the Australian healthcare industry contributes more than 35,000 kilotonnes of greenhouse gases annually. That’s 7% of Australia’s total emissions. [2]

This does not mean the healthcare industry are climate villains. More to the point, they contribute to climate change through their everyday activities.

It also means they can actively do something to help solve this global problem.

The Hospital Carbon Footprint

Given this opportunity to influence climate change, it’s worth considering where the healthcare sector and hospitals, in particular, contribute to greenhouse gases.

Here are some examples:

  • Consumables - Every day, hospitals make use of large amounts of consumables in attending to patients. While some of these are re-usable, most are disposable and made of non-biodegradable rubber and plastic.

  • Transport – The high level of consumables requires a fleet of transport vehicles to ship the new products and remove the waste.

  • Waste – A wide range of waste is produced daily in a hospital environment ranging from patients’ food scraps to chemicals from the wide range of drugs used, and high consumables.

  • Buildings – Hospitals require energy and materials to construct them and even more to run them. This includes fans, refrigerators, light bulbs and more. Typically, the hospital’s energy load is much higher than an office building because of the extra burden of a wide range of machines in use plus the more advanced environmental systems required to keep patients healthy. Plus, hospitals are a 24-hour operation – they don’t close down when the day-shift goes home. Further, many older hospitals were not designed to be energy-efficient.

  • Cleaning – Infection within Hospitals is a critical risk and needs to be managed through extensive cleaning and sterilisations. This includes the building itself, plus the consumables used on a day-to-day basis.

A Quick Way to Reduce the Hospital Carbon Footprint

While there are many ways to impact climate change, one fast and effective way hospitals can reduce their carbon footprint is to review their procurement process criteria. More specifically, define clear carbon footprint criteria for all purchases.

A significant first step is in choosing your consumables. Avoiding single-use plastic is an excellent step forward – for example, plastic hollowware. Plastic requires the production of chemicals to manufacture them, causing pollution, plus, they when they are removed as waste and taken to landfill they can take up to 500 years to decompose.

In contrast, EcoAid is a pioneer in manufacturing recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable hollowware of medical grade.

EcoAid products provide sustainable alternatives tor hospitals, enabling them to cut down on environmentally toxic waste.

EcoAid products are biodegradable when discarded, a safe option for single use. You may even consider composting them on-site to remove the need to send your waste elsewhere.

EcoAid Supports You to be Part of the Solution

As more hospitals and laboratories opt for these eco-friendly single-use, disposable options, their carbon footprints will continue to drop.

How can you contribute to reducing impacts on climate change in the healthcare sector? How can you support reducing the carbon footprint of your hospital?

EcoAid can support your clinical trials with product samples and advice


Order a Free Sample Box of EcoAid Products here…

___________ References [1] Source: [2] Source: Lancet, The carbon footprint of Australian health care, Malik, Lenzen, McAlister and McGain, January 2018


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