Single-use or reusable partus and suture kit? An environmental comparison for UMC Utrecht – Update 2022

A partus kit is used during childbirth. It is a set of medical instruments used to cut the umbilical cord. In addition, a suture kit is also often used during childbirth. There are two variants of both sets on the market: reusable and single-use. All sets are made of metal and are similar in weight. Although the reusable variants can be used hundreds of times, these sets are sterilised in an energy-intensive process after each examination.

UMC Utrecht commissioned CE Delft to prepare an environmental comparison between these two sets. On the basis of this study, UMC Utrecht will be able to make more informed choices when purchasing partus, suture and similar instrument sets.

Our analysis shows that using reusable partus and suture kits has a lower climate impact than single-use kits. If the reusable sets are used 500 times, the climate impact is about 60-70% lower. The reason that the climate impact of the one-off variant is higher is due to the larger quantity of instruments that need to be produced. The impact of sterilising reusable sets by UMC Utrecht is lower than re-producing, transporting and processing a new single-use set.