Recycling anesthetics to fight global warming


in Economics, The environment

Blue-zone technologies is a Canadian company that works with anesthetics. These gasses are potent greenhouse agents, and only about 5% of the gas used gets absorbed by the patient. The rest is normally vented, at a rate that makes each hospital’s anesthetic emissions comparable to the annual emissions from hundreds of cars. Blue-zone’s Deltasorb canisters are installed in operating rooms and capture the anesthetic breathed out by the patient. This prevents it from entering the atmosphere and allows the company to recycle the chemicals.

While the contribution of such technologies is relatively small, I appreciate the way in which this is a closed-loop system. Rather than treating the atmosphere as a dump for wastes, it is preventing the emission of harmful gasses. Further, rather than treating the captured wastes as garbage to be disposed of, it treats them as a feedstock for a new process of manufacture.

I learned about this from Tyler Hamilton’s Clean Break blog.

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