USC Panel Discusses Sustainable Medical Waste Solutions

May 23, 2024
The initiatives include reducing environmentally harmful anesthesia gases, upcycling plastic, and recycling nitrile gloves as flooring materials.

The USC’s Office of Health Affairs recently organized a panel discussion on the issue of medical waste and sustainability. The university's website has the news.

One of the plans discussed by the panel came from anesthesiologist Arash Motamed, who is the medical director of sustainability with Keck Medicine. He “detailed plans to continue reducing the use of environmentally harmful anesthesia gases in surgery. Last year, Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital eliminated nitrous oxide and desflurane. Next up is cutting the use of two more anesthetics — sevoflurane and isoflurane — by 75%.” This annual reduction represents the “equivalent of driving around Earth’s circumference more than six times.”

Other sustainable initiatives revealed at the panel include Clay Wang of USC Mann presenting his work “upcycling plastic bags and bottles plucked from the ocean by composting them with a special fungi;” Camille Dieterle of USC Chan, who discussed her work in environmentally informed occupational therapy;” and Sarah Hamm-Alvarez, who spoke of recycling nitrile gloves as flooring materials. Such a project could remove from landfills tons of these gloves, which take hundreds of years to break down.”

About the Author

Matt MacKenzie | Associate Editor

Matt is Associate Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News.

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