New products, packaging help minimize exam glove waste
By Medline Newsroom Staff | August 17, 2023
Medline initiatives maximize glove utilization, convert used gloves into energy
As single-use disposable gloves help prevent the spread of germs and infections, they’re a necessity in healthcare settings across the continuum of care. They also contribute significantly to medical waste, with an estimated 65 billion gloves used globally each month.
In busy healthcare settings, gloves become unusable when they are pulled too quickly from the box and fall to the floor, or when they rip or tear during donning and doffing. Used gloves also end up in the landfill. To help minimize glove waste and lower healthcare provider supply costs, Medline recently launched two new products—a patented box that maximizes glove utilization, and a new glove that minimizes rips and tears during donning and doffing. Medline’s Gloves Waste to Energy program also transforms used, non-hazardous gloves into energy.
“Exam gloves are essential personal protective equipment and Medline is committed to optimizing their use,” said Jim Burgess, Medline Director of Sustainability. “Reducing glove waste helps the healthcare provider’s bottom line and the environment.”
To minimize lost product when gloves are pulled from the box, Medline’s innovative glove packaging—the SmartBoX— includes a proprietary insert that propels gloves toward the box opening. The patent-pending design keeps gloves at the top, making it easier to pull a single glove out every time, maximizing glove utilization and decreasing glove waste by 33%.1
With the implementation of SmartBoX, a 200-bed hospital using 2 million gloves a month could save 66,000 gloves a month, equaling 264 boxes or 26 cases of gloves. In one year, the savings could rise to 317 cases.1
Clear, vinyl gloves are especially vulnerable to rips and tears following standard hand washing and sanitizing protocols. It takes an estimated 28 seconds to don a standard clear vinyl glove, and 20% of the time, these gloves will rip or tear in the process, resulting in unusable gloves, lost time and frustration.1
Medline’s Glide-On Powder-Free Vinyl Exam Gloves have a special coating that helps to pull the gloves on faster—on average, in just 14 seconds—with rips and tears occurring just 3% of the time.1 Color-coded sizing, prominently printed on each box, helps ensure quick selection, and convenient packaging with SmartGuard film helps keep gloves in the box to reduce waste.
For every 1,500 clear vinyl gloves, 300, or two boxes of gloves, may be wasted. With Glide-On, glove waste could decrease to just 45 gloves.1
While gloves utilized in the healthcare setting must be properly and quickly disposed of, Medline continues to facilitate the transformation of non-hazardous gloves into renewable energy through the Gloves Waste to Energy program.
Participating Medline customers can order GreenSmart recycling boxes —that can hold approximately 5,000 gloves—for the collection of non-hazardous, used gloves. The prepaid boxes can easily be sealed and shipped to a nearby waste-to-energy plant, which incinerates the gloves, producing clean renewable energy for consumption by homes and businesses.
Minimizing exam glove waste is part of Medline’s broader sustainability commitment, which includes a robust solar and green building commitment, consistent adherence to LEED and ISO environmental construction standards, and the ReNewal medical device reprocessing program. Medline also regularly donates medical equipment to nonprofit organizations throughout the world and is helping to reduce excess material, space, and point-of-use-waste through the company’s innovative and award-winning Sustainable Packaging Lab. Medline’s Green Product Portfolio offers alternative cleaning products and responsibly-manufactured products.
“Reducing glove waste helps the healthcare provider’s bottom line and the environment.”
Medline Director of Sustainability
The company recently evolved from a traditional corporate social responsibility program to a comprehensive environmental, social and governance model that includes a broader, data-driven approach. Medline’s first global ESG Report highlights the company’s strategies, successes and future priorities for helping to make healthcare more sustainable and equitable.
“Medline is committed to helping healthcare run more sustainably,” said Francesca Olivier, Medline vice president, ESG. “This includes implementing standards, practices and products that are eco-friendly, minimizing waste and environmental impact.”
Learn more about how Medline is building an environmentally conscious business.Learn more about Medline exam gloves.Learn more about Medline’s global ESG program.
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