Why PPE Should be Disposable

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Why PPE Should be Disposable

Recently, global warming, or climate change, has been an essential topic of contention in the news. Scientists are warning the public even more about the damage to our planet, so how are we to help improve the situation? The phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” is an excellent start to reducing each person’s carbon footprint, which can help to slow down the adverse effects of global warming. Unfortunately, while we fully support this mantra, leaders in the medical community believe reusing personal protective equipment can be harmful.

Why Reusing PPE is Bad

Although PPE is not just for the medical field, the likelihood of coming in contact with hazardous material is much lower outside healthcare facilities. However, in occurrences at laboratories or hospitals, bacteria, infectious fluids, and toxic chemicals can quickly spread. Washing PPE that has been contaminated with these substances decreases the effectiveness of the PPE’s barrier. In addition, PPE is often made of thin plastic or latex, which is ideal for single-use, and when that material is cleaned with water, disinfectant, and other solutions, it begins to break down. After two washes, the article of PPE is essentially useless as it breaks easily and can present a danger of exposure.

How Should You Dispose of Infected PPE

We’ve all seen the biohazard bins, baggies, and containers with large text and clear instructions for disposing of infected materials. In addition, there are typically specified receptacles for different categories of biohazardous waste: liquid, solid, sharp, and pathological. Personal protective equipment would fall into the solid category, so each time you change out PPE, remember to dispose of it properly.

Single-use plastic can leave a nasty taste in the mouths of environmentalists, and we understand! But when the lives and health of medical employees, patients, and lab technicians are at risk, there’s an exception to the rule. For more insight on the handling or disposal of biohazard materials, read this helpful article from Vanderbilt Medical. Learn more about Shoe Cover Magic’s single-use products and biodegradable options.

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