Health care supply chains are the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the health system - estimated to be over 60% of the GHG emissions from health care in Canada.
As well, disposable products contribute to the large amount of healthcare waste. During the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains that depended on manufacturing outside of Canada were challenged. Some products, such as PPE, were difficult to obtain through normal supply chain systems. Products that are locally made and reusable increase the resilience of the health care system.
An emerging approach to addressing the current linear production and consumption model where most of our resources quickly end up as waste, is the ‘Circular Economy’. The circular economy approach involves keeping resources in the cycle of use for as long as possible through reconsidering the purchase (i.e. refusing), redesigning, sharing (reducing), leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling. Health care has an opportunity to focus more on these lower energy and less waste intensive approaches and address both environmental and financial needs. Preventative health care is at the top of this hierarchy of approaches.
Can you safely eliminate certain products or packaging? Read the PEACH Byte.
Reducing the amount of products used through careful consideration. Manufacturers reduce the amount of material used in the product while still providing a fully functional product.
We interviewed leaders from Temiskaming Hospital about the impact of their Choosing Wisely program - read the PEACH Byte.
Reusing and reprocessing medical devices and products.
Health care waste is carefully separated and transported to companies that can use the materials to make new products.