Plastic is one of the most consequential inventions of the 20th century. Presently, over 335 million tons of plastic is produced in the world each year. Plastics are used broadly throughout healthcare because they are light weight, waterproof, and perceived as low cost compared to reusable goods. As a result, healthcare facilities in the United States generate around one million tons of plastic waste per year, the majority (85 percent) of which is non-infectious and potentially suitable for recycling.

Many of the plastics used in healthcare applications have health and environmental impacts associated with their use and disposal. Dioxin, a by-product of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is a known carcinogen. Plastic additives such as phthalates are ionically bound to the plastic matrix and leach out, especially when contacting heat and lipids. Phthalates have been found in food,...

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