King County Medical Industry Round Table (MIRT)

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Medical Industry Round Table

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MEDICAL LAUNDERING
Several local hospitals are saving money by making use of reusable textiles for nearly all operations within their institution. The textiles used include surgical gowns, surgical linen packs, incontinent pads, operating room drapes and much more. According to calculations made by the American Reusable Textile Association, a reusable surgical gown ends up costing $2.25 per use (assuming 50 reuses) and a disposable surgical gown ends up costing $4.65 per use. This calculation takes initial costs, administrative costs, disposal costs and laundering costs into account. For more information, please see the PDF file "Reusable Textiles; A Prescription for Change" at http://www.arta1.com/images/brochure.pdf

The practice of laundering medical linens has been around for eons but over the last couple of decades a lot of hospitals have switched to disposable items, in part because they offered better protection against potentially hazardous fluids. As it has been explained to us, however, in the last few years reusable materials have been developed and are in use which offer equal or superior barrier protection to disposables.

To determine which local laundry facilities were involved in providing medical linen laundering service and also interested in being listed here, a letter was sent out to local laundry service providers. Those who responded and filled out a short survey are listed below. All four companies checked on the survey that they use reusable/returnable packaging or the least wasteful packaging possible and the first two companies in the list checked on the survey that they have an environmental commitment backed by a written environmental statement or policy.

The four laundries are as follows:

  • Hospital Central Services Association (206)324-6000 Medical items laundered: All reusable items that are water washable.
  • University of Washington Consolidated Laundry (206) 521-1740 Medical items laundered: Essentially all health care linens
  • Overall Laundry Services (206) 682-1254 Medical items laundered: Scrubs, fluid resistant garments, fluid and bacterial resistant cleanroom garments.
  • Service Linen / MediCleanse (425) 255-8686 Medical items laundered: All healthcare linen except diapers and geripads