It ‘ticked all the boxes’ – better for the UK, better for the environment – so why did the government award £hundreds of millions in contracts for single-use PPE instead?

Throughout the pandemic the TSA campaigned for the use of reusable PPE instead of disposable gowns. Now The Independent newspaper has taken up the cause, publishing an article on 11th July that underlines not only how much money could have been saved on PPE, but also how many workers could have been taken off furlough had the TSA’s advice been followed. In addition, it points out that reusable PPE has a much lower carbon footprint and would have been a far greener and sustainable option.

The TSA, the Textile Services Association, represents commercial laundries in the UK.

Under the headline, ‘Government ‘wasted’ more than £800million choosing single-use PPE over greener alternative,’ The Independent lambasts the decisions during the pandemic. It points out that analysis commissioned by the Cabinet Office itself underlined how much greener the multi-use alternative would have been. The analysis said that the carbon output associated with disposable gowns is 1,164 percent larger than a multi-use gown.

David Stevens, CEO of the TSA, is quoted in the article as saying, “Looking at the numbers, you can’t say this [multi-use PPE] wasn’t a much better solution. It’s half the money, a 1,000 percent less carbon footprint, [and it’s] much more robust. It’s all onshore, good for the UK, made in Britain. There’s not a box it doesn’t tick.”

Independent Image

The TSA took part in discussions with officials in the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Improvement. The Association understands the strategy was elevated to ministers, despite which it was never acted upon. The TSA says it suspects that the single-use gown strategy was adopted because it proved more lucrative for companies with personal links to the government. Comments on the Indie’s website suggest many people agree.

Read The Independent’s article here.

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