April 3, 2024

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Adopts Biodegradable Gloves for Sustainability

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre Adopts Biodegradable Gloves for Sustainability

THUNDER BAY, Ontario – In a major environmental initiative, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) is shifting from traditional nitrile exam gloves to a biodegradable alternative, PRIMED Medical Products’ Sustain glove. This change, starting April 1, 2024, is in line with TBRHSC's commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

With an annual consumption of 11,000,000 nitrile gloves, TBRHSC’s choice to switch to PRIMED’s Sustain gloves also meets industry standards for testing and offer the same protection, safety, comfort, and performance, ensuring that patient care is not compromised.

Phil Thompson, Director, Support Services, from TBRHSC expressed enthusiasm about the move: "Switching to a biodegradable glove is a key part of our sustainability strategy. This decision not only reduces our environmental impact but also demonstrates our commitment to a sustainable future. It's an important step for us and we hope it inspires other healthcare providers to take action."

"We all have a responsibility to the environment, and when our Hospital can make a change like this, we are proud to do our part," says Thompson. "Our Hospital's Green Team supports waste reduction initiatives like the use of biodegradable gloves that help reduce waste volumes and our Hospital's environmental impact. It is all a part of being good stewards of the environment, and the belief that the health of the land, air and water around us supports the health of patients and their families."

"We take great comfort in the knowledge that our new biodegradable gloves will only impact the environment for a matter of years rather than centuries," added Thompson.

Ordinary nitrile gloves, used for their durability and protection, pose environmental challenges due to their long decomposition time. In contrast, PRIMED’s Sustain gloves, with a unique nitrile formula, decompose 81% within 490 days, two and a half years, significantly faster than the 0.5% decomposition rate of standard gloves. When these biodegradable gloves degrade in landfills, they break down into biogas, water, and harmless compounds, potentially generating renewable energy.

TBRHSC invites the community to be a part of their journey towards a greener future, highlighting that excellent patient care and environmental responsibility can be achieved simultaneously.

About Sustain Biodegradable Glove

PRIMED’s Sustain nitrile exam gloves are infused with an organic additive that allows them to mineralize when in contact with landfill microbes. This technology allows the gloves to biodegrade 81% in 490 days, compared to 0.5% for standard nitrile formulations in the same time frame according to ASTM D5511. Byproducts of the biodegradation process include water, non-reactive compounds and biogas that can be harvested to produce renewable energy, a capability established in many large landfills. As the additive is only activated in a landfill environment, quality and shelf life are not compromised.

About PRIMED Medical Products

Founded in 1995, PRIMED Medical Products is a global manufacturer of medical personal protective equipment. PRIMED manufacturing facilities are ISO certified and undergo regular audits by international regulatory and certification organizations. PRIMED’s high quality medical products are used in virtually every hospital across Canada and in healthcare facilities worldwide. PRIMED Medical Products is one of the fastest-growing international manufacturers of high quality medical personal protective equipment; offering branded, co-branded, and private label products and services to its customers and international partners.

About Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), a 425-bed academic specialized acute care facility, is a national leader in Patient and Family Centred Care. As the only tertiary care provider in Northwestern Ontario, we provide comprehensive services to a population of over 250,000 residents in a region the size of France. Effectively addressing the health care needs of patients and families has earned us both Innovation Awards and Leading Practice Designations. As an academic health sciences centre, we teach the next generation of health care providers and advance medical research. Patients benefit from interprofessional teams of dedicated health care providers and access to leading-edge medical technology and clinical trials. To fulfill its teaching and research strategic goals, TBRHSC is supported by Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) as a not-for-profit and independent research corporation. TBRHRI is the research arm of TBRHSC and seeks to lead research to improve the health outcome of the people of Northwestern Ontario and beyond.

Media Contacts

Jennifer Cliff, Communications Manager
PRIMED Medical Products

Marcello Bernardo, Manager, Communications & Engagement
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

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