Medical Gown Disposal Options from the Environmental Life Cycle Perspective
Zhao, Xiang
Tian, Xueyu
Zhu, Shoudong
Niaz, Haider
You, Fengqi

How to Cite

Zhao X., Tian X., Zhu S., Niaz H., You F., 2022, Medical Gown Disposal Options from the Environmental Life Cycle Perspective, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 94, 259-264.


The existing COVID-19 pandemic has driven personal protective equipment use and consumption surge, leading to plastic pollution as most waste goes to landfills. Biodegradable polypropylene (PP) gowns claimed to have similar production costs as standard PP film ones might be more environmentally friendly due to the degradability after landfilling. The illustration of their sustainable end-of-life waste disposal options is lacking and requires a systematic comparison of their environmental impacts. A holistic life cycle assessment approach based on full-spectrum environmental indicators identifies the environmentally sustainable waste disposal options. Results illustrate the environmental benefits of landfill gas capture and utilization incorporated to landfilling biodegradable gown wastes by reducing 48.81 % land-use, 9.35 % greenhouse gas emissions from fossil sources, and 5.67 % from land-use greenhouse gas emissions, respectively. Despite these environmental advantages, industrial composting embodies lower environmental emissions than sanitary landfills for treating biodegradable gowns. Fossil-based gowns treated by landfills can have lower environmental impacts than composting biodegradable gowns in full-spectrum environmental indicators. The standard gown landfilling is identified as the environmentally sustainable disposal option.