Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Being Green / Being Mean (the toilet talk)

This is an odd balance...
I can be really stingy. Have to be; my money's running out and with this supposed placement over my head I'm not taking as many agency shifts as I could because I really don't know what I'm doing next week. (Honest he's not given me a placement yet and agency needs at least some advance warning.)
This brought me to an interesting thought do you have to compromise on being green so you can be mean instead? There's a toilet paper advert running that states for every tree they use, they will plant three new ones. We don't use this brand in the flat. We use the cheep as chips, supermarket value brand. This costs about £1 for 12 rolls. The brand planting all the trees costs £2 for 4 rolls. Does a cheep roll wipe less asses than the expensive one? I'm not going to test that sorry. But lets make the scientific assumption that the expensive one is slightly longer and more absorbent. You seem at least to get far more for your money with the cheaper rolls.
(I promise you I'm not obsessed with toilet rolls. Bin bags and washing up liquid are far more obsessional.)
I think I'm starting to see where their money for saplings might be coming from.
So back to the question do we have to choose being green over being mean? I'm sure you are aware that greener / fairtrade / healthy products cost more. They do fairtrade coffee has always cost far more than even Gold Blend (and that's not cheap either). People wonder why the west of Scotland has a crappy health record (our 3 biggest killers are heart disease, stroke and cancer). All unhealthy food is cheaper in the supermarkets than the healthy stuff!

Another point I'll make before leaving. How much waste does your hospital produce in a day? The average (read small-ish) operation produced at least 3 large bags of clinical waste. That's 1 small operation. There could be 10 of those per day per theatre. The wards aren't short of stuffed bin bags either. The least green industry in the UK has to be healthcare. A lecturer once said that 'I'm here to do my job. Not save the NHS money.' She meant that if we had to use expensive dressings, or open 15 packets of something to make sure it was right then we did it. But look at the waste we generate. Sterile packages for surgery are double wrapped and 90% of patient contact materials are all disposable. I'm not for a minute suggesting that we abandon disposable gloves, aprons, sterile packaging and our beloved paper-pulp products. Abandoning these would send infection control into meltdown! There is little or no way to cut down the waste created by the healthcare industry. We have to toe the best policy guidelines and it is never in the patient's best interests to cut corners. So other suggestions? Recycling? Er lets not go there shall we?

So is it a valid choice? Yes lets all save the planet but not when I'm on a budget. People should do what they can. We need to recycle more. We need to cut down on packaging (although maybe not in healthcare). Maybe that's where I could be better since I cannot afford the 'green' bog roll to do it for me.

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