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B9 – The Challenge of Plastics in Health Care

Cumberland 3/4

Health care facilities in the United States generate approximately 14,000 tons of waste per day, 20 to 25 percent of which is plastic packaging and plastic products. Packaging, a very short term use with long term consequences in the environment, is a substantial part of this total. Most plastic waste is being disposed of in landfills or by incineration. Globally, plastic production has increased by more than tenfold since 1970, faster than the growth rate of any other group of bulk materials. All of these plastics, and the chemicals used in their manufacture, now contaminate our soils, rivers, oceans, and increasingly our food supply. Faced with this massive societal challenge, research on plastic uses and human health impacts has grown, as have efforts to reduce and detoxify plastic. Where is plastic being used in health care? What are the effects of plastics on human health from production to end-of-life? Is it possible to reduce plastic use and plastic waste? What are health care institutions doing to address this emerging global challenge? Hear from a scientist and policy experts as we explore new approaches to the plastics crisis.

Safer materials/chemicals Sustainable procurement Waste