ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Providence Alaska and Anchorage re:MADE have partnered to repurpose used surgical wrap and help reduce the amount of hospital waste. The material is turned into tote bags and paint drop cloths, both sold in the local community.
This came together when Cindy Spica, a Providence caregiver at the time, noticed the amount of surgical wrap — which is used to sterilize equipment — being sent to the landfill every day. The caregiver decided to reach out to Anchorage re:MADE, a non-profit organization which works with local businesses on reuse possibilities.
"One person saw this waste and realized the possibilities of it being repurposed,” said Patti Buist, founder of Anchorage re:MADE. “The person who came to us with this idea knew what that our mission is to keep usable items out of the landfill and create purpose by repurposing. Little did she know that it would also be a great source income for a senior and people with barriers to employment."
As a result of this partnership, the tape from the surgical wrap is removed, refolded and repackaged into paint drop cloths. Because surgical wrap is made from a waterproof, durable fabric, it protects surfaces from paint. The paint drop cloths are for sale at the Anchorage re:MADE store, 13500 Old Seward Highway in Anchorage.
Other pieces of surgical wrap is repurposed as tote bags, which are currently for sale in the Gift Shop at Providence Alaska Medical Center.
“The tote bags are sewn together by seven women who gather each week to create these wonderful, durable bags and fold the drop cloths,” added Buist. “This is making a huge, positive community impact by providing supplemental income to the seniors doing this work.”
This work also aligns with Providence’s goal of becoming carbon-negative by 2030.
“Waste generated in health care has a huge impact on our planet which is why we are working on diverting more than 50% of our waste away from landfills and hazardous streams,” said Darcy Moxon, Sustainability Program manager at Providence Alaska. “Repurposing the surgical wrap is just one of many efforts we are pursuing to help achieve these goals.”
Learn more about Anchorage re:MADE by visiting anchorageremade.com, visiting their store, or calling (907) 887-9760. Anchorage re:MADE also offers classes and volunteer opportunities.
Providence Alaska is part of Providence St. Joseph Health, a not-for-profit network of hospitals, care centers, health plans, physicians, clinics, home health services, affiliated services, and educational facilities. For more information about Providence, visit providence.org/about/alaska.
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