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Jono Drew, February 22 2023

The environmental impact of sterile and non-sterile hospital gowns in Spain

Research highlights


Hospitals generate huge amounts of nonwoven residues daily. This paper focused on studying the evolution of nonwoven waste generated in the Francesc de Borja Hospital, Spain, over the last few years and its relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main objective was to identify the most impacting pieces of nonwoven equipment in the hospital and to analyze possible solutions. The carbon footprint of the nonwoven equipment was studied through a life-cycle assessment. The results showed an apparent increase in the carbon footprint in the hospital from 2020. Additionally, due to the higher annual volume, the simple nonwoven gown used primarily for patients had a higher carbon footprint over a year than the more sophisticated surgical gowns. It can be concluded that developing a local circular economy strategy for medical equipment could be the solution to avoid the enormous waste generation and the carbon footprint of nonwoven production.

Methods & Results

For a complete summary of this data source and to see reported environmental impact values for studied products and activities, explore the HealthcareLCA Database.


Quintana-Gallardo A, del Rey R, González-Conca S, Guillén-Guillamón I. The Environmental Impacts of Disposable Nonwoven Fabrics during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Case Study on the Francesc de Borja Hospital. Polymers. 2023; 15(5):1130.

Written by

Jono Drew

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