We have become a very disposable world. I am 76, and before I became an RN, I was an operating room technician. Back in the 1960’s, we went into the OR and changed into our “scrub” clothes, hats and masks made out of fabric. At the end of our shifts, all of our operating room clothes were put into the laundry, washed, dried and reused until they wore out. Even our “rubber” gloves were checked for holes, cleaned and reused. Our gloves for surgery were cleaned and resterilized as long as there were no holes in them. Hand towels and drapes used in surgery were washed and reused and sterilized.
Maternity wards, ER’s, etc., were the same. Cloth diapers were used on babies. When mothers went home from the hospital, they continued to use cloth diapers and placed plastic pants over the diapers to keep clothing and bedding dry. Cloth diapers were soaked, washed and reused until babies graduated into training pants. Even a few years ago, Big Lots sold those items.
Over the years, disposables of all kinds started being used in hospitals. Reusable items became a thing of the past. Laundry facilities in hospitals became much smaller and laundry was sent out to privately owned laundry facilities. Hmm. Maybe that’s where downsizing started!
Along comes the Coronavirus, and now we are running short of all the disposable supplies. Many volunteers are making masks and hats out of fabric to donate to hospitals and
Here is the point I am getting at: Millions are now faced with losing their jobs for potentially several months or longer. Would it make sense to backtrack a little?
How environmentally safe will it be to have less trash building up at our dump sites and have less emissions produced on our streets while using less fuel?
Teresa C. Bungard, RN, Retired, Elida