Life Cycle Assessment of Medical Product Plastic Packaging at UVA Hospital; Inconvenient Sustainability: The Uphill Battle of Recycling in the U.S.

Young, Davis, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Landsman, Zackary, EN-SIE, University of Virginia

How may the volume of unrecycled waste be reduced? Waste continues to build up on mountains of trash and on the sides of roads prompting environmentally sustainable recycling measures.
How can plastic packaging in hospital systems be disposed of sustainably? Significant amounts of non-hazardous hospital waste accumulates in landfills every year. To prevent infection, hospitals discard unused materials in large quantities. To reduce waste and to prevent the undue discarding of unused materials, the research team conducted a Life Cycle Analysis that revealed opportunities to avert needless disposal.
In the United States, how do advocates of sustainable waste management practices promote recycling? The U.S. has failed to develop consistently effective recycling practices free from greenwashing. Recycling advocates pursue legislative mandates, incentives for green businesses, and subsidizing local recycling programs. Opponents of such techniques claim to favor recycling, but they object to mandates and engage in greenwashing practices.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), healthcare sustainability, operating room waste, environmental impact, circular economy, recycling advocates

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Zackary Landsman

STS Advisor: Peter Norton

Technical Team Members: Anne Clements, Margaret Weber

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