Conventional dishwashers often do not kill all the harmful microorganisms left on plates, bowls, and cutlery. They also require long cycle times that use large quantities of electricity, and the soap pumped in and out is released into water sources, polluting the environment.
Superheated steam dishwashers could provide a more effective, environmentally friendly solution. In a recent article published in Physics of Fluids, researchers from the Technical University of Dortmund and the Technical University of Munich simulated such a dishwasher, finding that it killed 99% of bacteria on a plate in just 25 seconds.
Brightmark, a global waste solutions provider based in San Francisco, and Jamar Health Products, a Wisconsin-based health care product manufacturer, have announced a strategic partnership to recycle plastic medical waste.
Brightmark says it provides a sustainable and circular solution for chemically recycling and converting Jamar’s proprietary Patran slide sheets, made of low-density polyethylene and high-density polyethylene, into low-carbon fuels and the building blocks for circular plastics.
The U.S. healthcare system is responsible for an estimated 10% of national greenhouse gas emissions, which cause extreme weather events and contribute to worse health outcomes, according to a new report from the House Ways and Means Committee.
The healthcare system is now experiencing the damaging effects of climate-related weather events that will continue to disrupt operations and take a severe financial toll. Failing to establish the infrastructure to track and reduce health sector greenhouse gas emissions will accelerate the impact, it said.
In a survey of health systems conducted for the report, a majority of respondents (54 out of 63) said they had experienced at least one extreme weather event in the past five years. The cost of repairing damages from the event was in the millions for many respondents.
Over the past 25 years, hospitals have decreased fossil fuel use, but electricity use isn’t declining as much. According to a survey by Grumman|Butkus Associates, the average combined Btu/ft2 (electricity plus gas/steam) for participating facilities was 236,743 in this year’s survey, up from 233,491 in 2019.
Among a certain subset of designers, there’s a growing feeling that the more natural a space is, the better. So-called biophilic design, or design that integrates nature and natural processes, is making its way into the world of architecture and urban development. In architecture, biophilia is seen as a way to make people happier and healthier by building nature into their daily lives, even when they’re in a city.
Join Clean Production Action, Kaiser Permanente, Maharam, and Glen Raven in a webinar on the newly updated GreenScreen Certified Standard for Furniture & Fabrics.
Here you will learn what GreenScreen Certified is and how it can be used by manufacturers and purchasers to meet sustainability goals. Join us to heear from manufacturers with certified products, especially PFAS-free fabrics, about the benefits of certification and the GreenScreen process.
With hospitals under strain from COVID-19, we need to safeguard them against another threat set to increase as the world warms.
That threat? Flooding. Many Australian hospitals were built on cheap land near rivers. But as climate change loads the dice in favour of larger floods, areas previously safe may no longer be so. We must plan ahead to ensure patients and healthcare workers are not trapped by floodwaters.
Our new research shows future floods in low-lying areas of Western Sydney are likely to disrupt road networks, preventing safe evacuation of patients. Only last year, this region suffered its worst floods in decades, and more are expected as we enter a flooding cycle. This fast-growing region is rated one of Australia’s highest flooding risks, and hosts a number of healthcare facilities built in flood-prone areas.
The solution? We believe new approaches to mathematical modelling can help decision makers optimise plans for safe evacuation in different flooding scenarios. By cutting evacuation time, we hope these approaches can save lives.
Hospitals were not built to cope with larger floods
Around 80% of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coast. As a result, many hospitals were built on low-lying land adjacent to seas or rivers. Most were designed without climate change risks in mind.
The major floods brought by La Nina last year, and the catastrophic 2010-2011 Queensland floods, have shown us how exposed many of our cities are to floods. Already in 2022, we have seen large floods up and down the east coast.
Climate change is predicted to bring Australia less rain overall, except for the tropical north. The rain that does fall will be more likely to fall in intense bursts. River flash floods from intense rain events or cyclones will pose an increasing threat to health facilities.
That’s to say nothing of flooding from the sea. Around Australia, 75 hospitals and health service facilities are within 200 metres of the sea. That puts them at real risk from coastal inundation and erosion by the end of the century, if the seas rise by one metre as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts.
This is not a hypothetical scenario. Hospitals have already been left without power for days due to flooding, while others have been forced to evacuate patients. Only last year, floods up and down the east coast cut roads and forced authorities to find alternatives to hospitals for people unable to get through.
Clearly, this matters. Hospitals play a vital role in creating a disaster-resilient society, and it is critical they can keep operating in disaster situations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a better understanding of the threat posed by flooding.
What can we do to prepare?
In our region, very little is known about how we might best evacuate hospitals in the event of a major flood. We simply haven’t done enough research.
What we found in our work is that the issue is extremely complex. Where would patients be evacuated to, for instance? How do you do it safely? Which routes would be safe in a major flood? How would medical staff get to other hospitals?
Evidence from recent floods suggests many hospitals in flooded areas will face major challenges transferring patients and resources to other healthcare facilities.
So what can hospitals do better?
At present, hospital administrators rely heavily on evacuation drills to test and improve emergency evacuation planning. These drills are expensive and disruptive and their effectiveness is difficult to assess.
For example, analysis of Western Sydney’s Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley can visually show how different size flood events would impact on hospitals, healthcare and aged care facilities, as well as roads, bridges and electricity lines.
Imagine the Hawksbury-Nepean Valley area floods again like last year. In a scenario where a hospital floods and patients need evacuation, hospital administrators will face a conundrum. Which roads do they send the patients down?
Sophisticated modelling our team is undertaking will let us predict which routes are best, based on the roads most likely to flood, ambulance and staff availability, health needs of patients and the availability of suitable beds and staff in other hospitals. The models allow us to optimise routes for the most urgent patients.
For hospital administrators, the benefit of these models is the ability to glimpse the likeliest scenarios and plan ahead, before the floods happen.
Climate change can supercharge floods, as we are seeing more and more. Decision makers must plan ahead accordingly. Running flood and evacuation simulations now could help save lives in the future.
The Modular Adaptable Convertible (MAC) ward at the Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital in Taipei is the world’s first hospital ward made with recycled materials, according to its creators, Taiwanese company Miniwiz. The wall panels are made from recycled aluminum and the coat hooks and door handles are made from recycled medical waste.