Saving patients is physicians’ first priority—and that often means sidelining sustainability, BBC reports.
But biomedical waste is also a major contributor to health problems. If health care were a country, it would rank fifth for greenhouse gas emissions.
- One Mayo Clinic survey found that single-use plastics made up 20% of medical waste generated in US hospitals
- 57% of respondents didn’t know which operating theater items could be recycled.
- Yet 85% of medical waste is no more dangerous than household trash—and that leaves a lot of room to rethink hospital waste systems.
However, mishandling of truly dangerous medical waste has become an even bigger problem amid COVID-19. In Bangladesh, persistent waste mismanagement is spurring the risk of COVID-19 infection, warns researchers in The Lancet Global Health.