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"
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