Ethical & Eco Friendly Scrubs
Scrubs are the de facto uniform of healthcare workers everywhere. Comfortable and practical, scrubs are worn by everyone from doctors to healthcare assistants and nurses to porters.
Due to the nature of the work, most doctors and nurses get through scrubs at a rapid rate. It’s common for medical professionals to be splashed by bodily fluids and other liquids while they’re treating their patients, especially in emergency and acute care settings. This means that scrubs often have to be changed regularly throughout the day in order to keep wards and treatment areas sanitary and doctors and nurses looking professional.
Although standard medical scrubs are reusable, it’s still a good idea to think about sustainability when purchasing your workwear. After all, the more ethical and eco-friendly scrubs are, the kinder the medical profession will be on the environment.
How to Buy Ethical and Eco Friendly Scrubs
There are a number of things to consider when looking for scrubs that are a little gentler on the environment. Some of the most important are:
Thanks to the nature of scrubs, they need to be exceptionally durable and hardwearing. So, ideally, you want to invest in scrubs that are made from natural, sustainable materials which are ethically sourced and designed to last.
Scrub tops and scrub bottoms need to withstand long, tiring shifts in difficult conditions. This often means choosing items made from a mix of natural and synthetic fibres in order to ensure they stand the test of time.
Durability is a very important factor when it comes to buying eco-friendly scrubs. After all, the longer scrubs last, the fewer pairs doctors and nurses will get through during their careers. Currently the fashion industry (which includes workwear) accounts for 8%-10% of global carbon emissions. Manufacturing less medical wear will therefore help to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry.
What are the Most Environmentally Friendly Materials?
In general, environmentally friendly materials are considered to be those that are natural and ethically sourced. Things like cotton, bamboo, linen and wool are all derived from natural ingredients and so can generally be considered to be sustainable.
However, while these materials are natural, they’re not always completely eco-friendly. This is because the mass production of some natural fibres can actually be harmful to the environment.
For example, the production of cotton uses 2.5% of the world’s total cultivated land but 16% of the world’s insecticides and an incredible 25% of the pesticides. Globally, the production of cotton is thought to consume around 250 billion tons of water and result in the emission of a whopping 220 million tons of CO2 every single year. This means your cotton scrub top may not be as green as you’d like.
It is possible to buy products made from sustainably grown cotton and other natural fibres. So, make sure you check the small print carefully before spending your hard earned money on ‘eco friendly’ fabrics.
Which Materials are the Most Durable?
As we’ve seen, when buying scrubs that are kind on the environment, it’s important to consider their durability. Scrubs are put through their paces on a daily basis and need to be able to withstand the wear and tear of hospital life. Choosing scrubs that can be washed and worn again and again will help to reduce the carbon footprint of your workwear.
Often, the most durable fabrics are made from a mix of fibres. A scrub top made with 65% polyester (a synthetic material) and 35% cotton will be great at wicking moisture away from the skin and keeping you cool, but will also keep its shape and its colour even with regular washing.
Another common fibre mix for durable scrubs tops is 78% polyester, 20% rayon and 2% Spandex. Polyester gives the fabric durability, rayon makes it breathable and spandex makes it a little stretchy. This results in a worktop that’s comfortable and practical.
One of the problems with synthetic fibres is that they aren’t biodegradable. While cotton, bamboo, linen and other natural fabrics will break down eventually and turn back into soil, polyester, rayon and spandex won’t. However, some types of synthetic fibres are now recyclable, so if you have old scrubs to get rid of, check with your local authority to see if they can be turned into something else.
Which Brands are the Most Ethical?
As well as looking for fabrics made from environmentally friendly materials, it’s important to buy products from brands that have a strong commitment to eco-friendly causes. Look for brands that promise to implement carbon-neutral practices or that purchase their fabrics from sustainable sources.
Buying from manufacturers with these types of green policies will help to lower the carbon footprint of your workwear. It will also help to drive demand for more environmentally friendly products, something that could make the future of workwear that little bit greener.
It’s also a good idea to buy your scrubs from well-known brands like Cherokee. Manufacturers with global reputations are generally known for the quality and durability of their products. Buying good quality scrubs made by trusted labels will help to ensure the longevity of your work wear and prevent clothes going to landfill prematurely.
Investing in ethically sourced, eco-friendly scrubs will help to lower your personal carbon footprint and help make the medical industry that little bit kinder on the environment. To find out more about eco-friendly brands and long lasting, durable scrubs, take a look through our high quality collection of medical supplies today.