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The wearing of the green: Scrubs made from recycled plastic

Advanced Textiles, Products | April 1, 2011 | By:

Healthcare and surgical scrubs now span all the colors of the rainbow, but EcoGeneration scrubs by Cintas™ Corp., Chicago, Ill., are a “green” product that could save the healthcare industry a pot of gold. The new apparel line is constructed using one-third REPREVE® recycled yarns manufactured by Unifi Inc., Greensboro, N.C., using pre-consumer nylon and polyester waste and post-consumer plastic bottles for raw material. According to Unifi, the manufacture of one pound of REPREVE yarn (versus manufacture of virgin polyester) uses approximately 50,000 fewer BTUs of energy, equivalent to 0.4 gallons less of gasoline.

In the fast-growing healthcare sector, the environmental impact adds up. “In an industry that employs more than 13 million workers, the potential impact is huge,” says Brent Schafer, vice-president of Healthcare for Cintas. For every 500 nurses wearing the scrubs, four small commercial dumpsters of waste are eliminated. The EcoGeneration scrubs feature moisture-wicking properties and Cintas’ ComfortFLEX™ mechanical stretch for easy movement and comfort, wear-tested by workers, who preferred ComfortFLEX fabric by 96 percent over other polyester/cotton blends. The Cintas Caregiver Identification Program allows patients to identify staff functions using various scrub colors and styles.

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